For Arc Herkimer, 2022 is going to be a year of construction, with work already started on a new café, a new event center at their golf course coming soon and a few other projects as well, said President and CEO Kevin Crosley.
“I see this year as the year of construction, which will lead to further growth for the organization and the people we support," he said.
Copper Café - located in the Arc Mall in Ilion - will be a training ground for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to learn and develop restaurant and hospitality skills. It will help train Arc Herkimer participants in invaluable skills of cooking, customer service, food safety and related restaurant experiences.
Once complete, the café will also be open to the public, and people can stop in for breakfast and lunch to see the Arc Herkimer workers exhibit their new skills.
A brand new, million-dollar event venue also will be added to the Arc's MV Golf & Event Center in Little Falls, thanks to an unprecedented donation from the Kucerak Family Limited Partnership.
In 2021, there were 58 individuals engaged in services at the center, either through employment or support. They held golf clinics for people supported by the Arc programs along with community youth and veterans with disabilities.
Tin Cup Tavern & Grille, located at the MV Golf & Event Center, is now open year-round for lunch and dinner.
The Arc Herkimer Goods Store, located at 105 N. Caroline St. in Herkimer, recorded its best year of sales in 2021. There, Arc Herkimer again employs individuals with disabilities, giving them the chance to work and interact directly with the community.
Last year, Career Connections, the employment division of Arc Herkimer that provides support and services to assist people in their own career journey, had 114 job placements within the community. Those workers could be found in Herkimer, Ilion, Mohawk, Frankfort, Poland, Little Falls, Dolgeville, Utica, Fort Plain and other workplaces in the region.
Arc Herkimer recently added Catherine Loomis to its executive team as the new vice president of Community Engagement and Career Development.
Loomis will remain in a supervisory role at Career Connections, where she has spent much of her time the last 13 years, while also overseeing Family Support Services, Clinical Support Specialists and increasing outreach.
“I am very excited to continue my career at Arc Herkimer by building relationships between local business owners, families and other organizations,” Loomis said. “My goal is to connect people to quality services to enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
With Loomis’ leadership, the Career Connections program grew to include 10 vocational services, placing nearly 100 people in community jobs each year. These services included job development, coaching, community prevocational and other programs to teach individuals work readiness skills and ensure success on the job.
Peter Bizzari was recently named the new chief information officer (CIO) for Arc Herkimer.
As the CIO, Bizzari will lead Arc Herkimer in managing the IT infrastructure to create stability, proactively perform upgrades in anticipation of the new wave of technology, enhance cybersecurity processes and work on projects that integrate technology into the lives of individuals with disabilities.
“Arc Herkimer has an extraordinary track record of growth and success, positively impacting the disability community and beyond,” Bizzari said. “I am honored to aid in this continued success as a member of the executive team; through the use of technology, we will continue to enhance the lives of the people we support.”
Arc Herkimer is located at 350 S. Washington St. in Herkimer. For more information call 315-574-7000 or visit www.archerkimer.org.
Crosley noted in addition to all of their ambitious plans for 2022, they also are seeing a positive forecast for state funding throughout their service industry.
"I’m ever optimistic about what we’re hearing with the state budget this year, not only for us but all IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities) providers throughout the state,” he said. “A lot of positives are coming through at the same time. It is exciting for us as we look at 2022, with new opportunities and unique initiatives for people supported.”
Mike Jaquays is the community news reporter for the Mid-York Weekly. Email him at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Times Telegram: Arc Herkimer adding new café, event center in 2022, CEO says