ALBANY, N.Y., June 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York State Preferred Source Program for People who are Blind (NYSPSP) today announced the Program's unprecedented growth over the last 24 months. NYSPSP experienced a double-digit increase in sales, attributed to new product offerings and product line extensions approved by the New York State Office of General Services (OGS). This growth has led to significant increases in employment hours and wages paid to over 450 employees who are blind across the State of New York.
"When you combine the hard work and dedication of our employees with the professional staff at OGS, you get incredible results," said Carrie Laney, executive director of NYSPSP.
Designated by the New York State (NYS) Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)/NYS Commission for the Blind, the mission of NYSPSP is to create jobs for New Yorkers who are legally blind. Today, two out of three working age New Yorkers who are blind are not employed.
"Our success allows NYSPSP's statewide network of affiliated agencies to sustain and expand training and rehabilitation services for people of all ages who are visually impaired," said Laney. "When we succeed, it's about more than making a sale; we're improving and enriching the lives of thousands of New Yorkers who are blind."
With over two dozen application approvals from OGS Preferred Source unit since 2014, including more than 200 new individual items, NYSPSP is able to respond to the needs of current customers and market itself to new ones. Many items added to the program are a result of specific customer needs and require custom specifications. Some of the newly added products driving sales are exam gloves, Zep cleaning solutions, incontinence products, coveralls and customer specific safety vests.
"We at OGS are thrilled to be witnessing the growth and success being experienced by the NYSPSP and gratified that New Yorkers who are blind or visually impaired are getting the opportunity to do meaningful work that is supported by the state agencies, local municipalities, schools, and nonprofit organizations that acquire essential goods and services from preferred sources," said OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito. "OGS is committed to continuing its collaboration with NYSPSP and OCFS and promoting an even greater level of social and economic success for the blind who benefit from the Preferred Source Program."
OGS has also been vital in increasing awareness of the Preferred Sources and their offerings to state agencies. Through training sessions, inclusion in a state-wide contract and its e-Marketplace catalog, OGS is committed to supporting the important mission of the Preferred Source program. The recent NYS Purchasing Forum is just one example of OGS' ongoing training efforts.
"OGS does not just provide oversight and approval of our offerings – they are an engaged stakeholder and a valued partner that is directly helping provide employment to hundreds of New Yorkers who are blind," said Laney.
"This is a prime example of a strong and successful public-private partnership," said Acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. "By working cooperatively on this enterprise, OGS, NYSPSP and OCFS have achieved our objective of developing work for more blind New Yorkers and we will continue to seek more ways to create opportunities for these skilled and dedicated individuals."
"We are so proud to be part of this partnership and proud to have created so many jobs that pay well and provide excellent benefits," said New York State Commission for the Blind Associate Commissioner Brian S. Daniels. "These are meaningful jobs that help blind New Yorkers attain success and maintain independence, which is exactly what we set out to do."
State and local agencies must purchase products and services that appear on the OGS Preferred Source List from NYSPSP. These commodities are currently produced by eight affiliated nonprofit agencies in New York that employ people who are blind or visually impaired. Information on NYSPSP's thousands of products and many business services, including state of the art call center operations, hotline and help desk coverage, mailroom services, and other business solutions can be found at www.nyspsp.org. In continued partnership with OCFS/NYSCB and OGS, NYSPSP plans to continue to develop new products and services that meet the needs of state customers while fulfilling the mission to provide employment opportunities for New Yorkers who are blind and visually impaired.
About the New York State Preferred Source Program for People Who Are Blind
The New York State Preferred Source Program (NYSPSP) for People Who Are Blind is a state-mandated initiative under Section 162 of the Finance Law which creates and sustains employment opportunities for New Yorkers who are legally blind by directing state and local government agencies to purchase pre-approved products and services on the Office of General Services (OGS) Preferred Source List. All of these offerings are produced by affiliated nonprofit agencies in New York that employ people who are blind or visually impaired. They are:
Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Rochester
Alphapointe – Brooklyn
Association for Vision Rehabilitation & Employment – Binghamton
Aurora – Syracuse
Central Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Utica & Syracuse
Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany – Albany
Olmsted Center for Sight – Buffalo
Southern Tier Association for the Visually Impaired – Elmira
VISIONS – Manhattan
More information on OGS and OCFS/NYSCB can be found here –
OGS - https://nyspro.ogs.ny.gov/content/buying-preferred-source-0
OCFS/NYSCB - http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cb/NYSPSP.asp
NYSPSP is a related NYS 501(c)(3) corporation to National Industries for the Blind
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SOURCE New York State Preferred Source Program for People Who Are Blind