Massena, Gouverneur facilities that employ people with disabilities get marketing help
Saturday, July 28, 2018 - 4:15 pm

FuzeHub, the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) center, has partnered with the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation to provide specialized assistance to manufacturing facilities that employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, helping them to meet increased production demand.

In the North Country, CITEC Business Solutions, the regional MEP center, helped Seaway Industries with two of their businesses, a bottle redemption and gift shop in Gouverneur, and a light assembly operation in Massena.

Everton H. Henriques, NY MEP solutions manager at FuzeHub, said, “Helping these workshops transform into real sustainable businesses is the goal of this collaboration, and it is very rewarding to see how eagerly some of these agencies are looking at transforming their business approach to a more sustainable model with MEP assistance.”

CITEC offered marketing assistance for their bottle redemption and gift shop business in Gouverneur, outlining several opportunities to increase revenue at the facility. For their “kitting” operation, CITEC provided “lean Manufacturing” training to key staff, providing them with tools to identify cost saving opportunities.

CITEC business development director Steve Lockwood reviewed cost analyses for both operations to insure profitability. "Having spent more than two years myself leading a human services organization transformation, it was a pleasure to work with St. Lawrence ARC on this project. Balancing business with mission is a huge challenge facing these organizations, and we are happy to support them as they work through these adjustments," he said.

Tracy Hutton, contract and business development director at St. Lawrence NYSARC said, “Steve Lockwood from CITEC was terrific to work with. He was very knowledgeable in the lean manufacturing process and interacted well with our supervisors and workers with disabilities. His recommendation for 'part set-up' has decreased our kitting times and increased overall productivity. We look forward to working with Steve again in the near future.”

FuzeHub's partnership with the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation provided access to MEP services and programs to a previously unserved portion of the New York State manufacturing supply chain. This collaboration served 12 workshops across the state, all of which utilize personnel with disabilities as their primary workforce. This assistance has also helped workshops like Progress Industries comply with changing federal workforce regulations related to Medicaid funding they receive.

Pat Dowse from the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation referred to FuzeHub and the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership as “the ‘secret ingredient’ for success to transform these work centers to sustainable businesses.”