By Concetta Hinkel, Parent

 

During the past 30 years, my son, Bill, has worked as a Data Entry Machine Operator (DEMO) with support from Wildwood Employment Services.  This achievement became a reality because of their constant focus to improve Bill’s computer skills and job performance, while also helping his supervisors and co-workers understand his disability. It started in 1986, when Bill was able to get several job training opportunities. 

In 1988, an application was submitted to the governor’s program to hire the disabled.  Bill received an eligibility letter for a designated 55-b appointment for a non-competitive position with no civil service examination required.  However, there were only 1,200 designated appointments available for the entire state.  It was almost impossible to find this kind of job because these slots were always taken and the turnover rate was very low.

From 1989 to 1999, Bill was fortunate to get a full-time job as a DEMO, with continued supports from Wildwood, at Health Research, Inc.  HRI is a non-profit corporation that supports the strategic public health goals of the New York State Department of Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and other health-related entities.  Bill was one of six HRI DEMOs who worked together with 12 Department of Health DEMOs in the Data Processing Unit located in Albany.

But in 1999, the Data Processing Unit moved to Menands. Bill having no transportation to get there, meant he had to look for another job.  This is when we found out that Governor Pataki initiated a plan so that more people with disabilities would have an opportunity to seek and obtain employment.  The person with a disability could apply for any posted entry level civil service position and the civil service examination would be waived.  When an agency chose to interview and appoint a 55-b client, the Civil Service Commission reviewed the agency’s request and could approve the reclassification of the competitive position to a non-competitive position.  The candidate would then be on probation for 12 months before obtaining permanent status for this non-competitive position.

In November 1999, we began searching for one of these posted entry-level positions and we found one with the Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance.  Bill was chosen for the job and the process was completed in just a few weeks. After the 12 months probationary period, Bill obtained permanent status for this position.

In 2015, all of the New York State Data Entry Machine Operator job titles, including Bill’s job title, were changed to Office Assistant 1 (Keyboarding) and he adjusted and learned to do other assignments. Bill’s employment specialist continues to be the key factor in helping him problem solve at work. Bill also continues to progress with developing better social skills through many of Wildwood’s training programs.

Having a job and going to work everyday has made a difference in Bill’s life.  He is very proud of his accomplishments and very proud to be a taxpayer.  Bill is now 54 years old and looking forward to the time he can retire and receive all the New York State pension plan benefits.

Many thanks to so many people from Wildwood for their time and effort that made this possible.

Link to Governor’s Program to Hire Individuals and Veterans with Disabilities:  https://www.cs.ny.gov/rp55