News

    Though we’ve continued to hold regular, virtual townhall meetings to update everyone on how our pending merging is proceeding, we’ve come to realize that the online meetings just aren’t convenient for everyone to attend.

    To rectify that, we have expanded our communication efforts including making a special edition of the Wildwood News as well as featuring this article in this Reaching Out newsletter. We will dedicate an edition of the Wildwood Digest to the merger shortly after it becomes official.

    In the meantime, we’d like you to know that Wildwood’s leadership has been meeting weekly with the goal of making sure that the merger does not in any way interrupt our all-important supports and services. That means we’ve been discussing how to merge operations, payroll, human resources, accounting, facilities services and other departments while making sure our IT functions are properly integrated.

    We’ve also been meeting with representatives of OPWDD on a weekly basis to ensure that everything is going along smoothly in terms of operations and regulations. We are happy to report that this process has been moving along without any snags.

    Our staff that will be joining us from ALG will (or have already) received a letter from our HR department outlining things like holidays, vacations, time off and other day-to-day concerns. It is exciting to bring all these talented professionals into the Wildwood community.

    We are very happy to report that all regulatory authorizations have been issued and that we now know that the merger will be official on 10/1/22!

    Many things have gone on behind the scenes with many people working diligently to bring this about. It is an exciting time at Wildwood. As always, thank you for your support!

Join us any time between 9am and 12pm! 

Take a walk around beautiful Cook Park in Colonie, pick up your t-shirt, enjoy entertainment, refreshments and the Community Fair! 

For register or for more information, please visit https://p2p.onecause.com/walkforwildwood

 

    Advocacy happens every day.  It’s especially impactful when the right people listen and take action.  We, the United People’s Self Advocacy group, are fortunate to have our CEO, Lou Deepe, attend our meetings.  Recently, he actively solicited our opinion on areas of improvement here at Wildwood.  Several of us use walkers and wheelchairs and Building 1 didn’t have push button bathroom door openers.  We voiced our concerns to Lou. Bryan Norton, Self-Advocate said, “Lou does listen. He’s honorable and trustworthy. He says what he means and does what he says.”   

    Lou spoke with our Director of Operations Mark Normandin and within a month, push button door openers were installed on the second floor bathrooms.  Mark said he will continue to work on these improvements and advocate for funds for additional bathroom door openers to be added into his budget. Bryan said, “We’re patient. We understand that it takes time to complete any project. “ 

    Bryan stated, “It feels great to be asked my opinion and have it count. “


 

On May 19th, at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, the Workforce Challenge kicked off with over 4,000 in-person participants. The race consisted of a 3.5 mile course that weaved throughout Albany’s Capital Park. Of that 4,000, Wildwood had nine in-person runners/walkers, along with an additional 17 virtual participants.

A friendly competition ensued among Wildwood employees as each employee raced to beat one another to the finish line. Virtually, Lauren Roecker was our women’s first place runner with a time of 30 mins and 5 secs, while for the men, Stephen Dicerce virtually came in first for Wildwood with a time of 26 mins and 55 secs.

In-person, Erika Boehlke came in first for a time of 35 mins and 13 secs and Matt Whelan followed her with a time of 38 mins and 51 secs.

Other than simply a race, the Workforce Challenge raised over $10,000 to donate to their charity of choice, the Oakwood Community Center. The Oakwood Community Center offers a food pantry available every Saturday and provides low cost meeting and event space for neighbors and small groups. Their goal is to “bring nurturing space for the diverse residents of Troy to meet as strangers and become neighbors who care and advocate for each other.”

Congratulations to our racers on a job well done!

    The quality of Wildwood is dependent on the caring and dedication of our amazing staff.  Attracting quality staff has been very challenging at Wildwood, as with most employers, over the past year. Virus outbreaks and quarantines among staff have exacerbated that shortage. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our efforts in this area.

    Our full-time recruiter works closely with hiring managers to ensure that applicants are moved quickly through our process and hired into the programs that are the best fit for them. We have streamlined the hiring process to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for positions. The rest of our dedicated human resources staff work closely with training and our hiring managers to ensure a smooth onboarding process, a successful orientation and on-going check-ins during the first 90 days of employment. 

    We continue to participate in job fairs and community hiring activities, and hold our own on-site hiring events. Our advertising efforts include a wide variety of online platforms and social media sites. Many of you probably saw our campaign with CDTA, targeting buses and bus stops. We recently added signs to our Wildwood transportation vehicles to utilize their presence all over the area and a new radio commercial aired recently. 

    Our most significant effort has been re-structuring our compensation system to Experience Based Compensation. Now, instead of a single starting rate regardless of previous experience, new hires for direct support positions will be paid based on their prior relevant experience and education. Our current staff have had their rates adjusted to the new pay scale as well!

    We are always looking for great DSPs, and at this time are particularly needing those interested in our Day Programs. As individuals have returned to Day Programs from the height of the pandemic, we've had an increasing need for staff at both site based Day Habilitation and WOW. Some of our residential programs are also quite short-staffed. We are focusing on making it a priority to get these programs as fully staffed as possible.

    How can you help? Our best source of great hires continues to be referrals from employees and families!  Wildwood is a great place to work. If you know someone who would be a great fit, let them know how person-centered our organization is, and what a welcoming culture we have here. We offer great rates and cover 90% of our employees' health care costs. We also have per diem and part-time opportunities. Experience is not as important as having a caring attitude and a desire to make a difference in someone's life. Wildwood will provide the training, the support and the attention so that everyone who works here can be a success. Wildwood is a wonderful place for caring people to find a home and a career. 

Please reach out if you have any questions.



 

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