Local disability support organizations seek help with staff shortages
ROTTERDAM, NY (NEWS10) – Like many other industries, nonprofits have been hit by labor shortages. And when it comes to a job that requires caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it can be very difficult.
“This is the greenhouse where we do all the planting and all the activities,” Cheryl Martin told Anya Tucker of NEWS10.
But, for her, it’s not just a greenhouse. It is a personal oasis.
Cheryl is one of the lucky few who can participate in Schenectady ARC’s Maple Ridge Day Program, where she is also paid to work in the greenhouse. But severe staff shortages have forced cuts to many of the other programs that make her life fulfilling.
Cheryl told Anya that she misses her friends in the programs and that the pandemic has been very hard on her.
Currently, the organization that supports people like Cheryl, who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, has 600 openings in the capital region alone.
“We’re not in a position to hire staff right now, and when you can’t hire staff, you can’t support people,” said Kelly Dombrowski, of the Maple Ridge Center.
The non-profit organization is not like a private company that can attract workers with higher wages. Minus an increase in government funding, they rely on fundraisers as an annual food truck event this Saturday.
“It’s harder for me when I talk about our employees,” said Kirk Lewis, executive director of Schenectady ARC.
His employees are already running out of steam and he is preparing for more resignations.
“We’re going to lose our best people and the system is under such stress that you fear it will survive,” Lewis added.
So what would Cheryl say to the powers that be?
“I would say to them, ‘Please bring more people. We need them. ‘”
Saturday fundraiser info:
Schenectady ARC to host its 4th annual food truck festival, “Electric City Trucks, Taps, Corks, and Forks”
This year’s event with Skeeter Creek, New York’s # 1 Modern Country Band
Saturday 23 October 2021
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Via the port of Rotterdam
93 Campbell Road West
Rotterdam, New York 12306