Field Goods and Puzzle Bakery & Café Recognized as Best in New York State for Supporting Employees with Disabilities
Two Local Women-Owned Businesses Recognized by Capital Region Employer Alliance
Athens, NY and Schenectady, NY – October 21, 2016 – The Capital Region Employer Alliance (CREA) presented the 2016 Statewide National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) award to two food local companies, both founded and run by women entrepreneurs. Field Goods of Athens and Puzzles Bakery & Café of Schenectady were recognized by CREA as the winners of the NDEAM award, selected among hundreds of companies and recognized as truly outstanding examples of diverse hiring practices and support of employees with disabilities. Puzzles Bakery & Café was honored for employers with 1 to 24 employees; Field Goods was recognized for businesses with 25 to 99 employees.
These two recipients of the statewide award share a common mission: leveraging the power of their locally-produced and sourced food to provide job opportunities for people with disabilities.
Puzzles Bakery & Café was founded by Sara Mae Hickey in 2014 who was inspired by her only sibling and younger sister Emily to find a creative employment solution for adults affected by autism spectrum disorders. With more than half of Hickey’s workforce diagnosed with a developmental disability, primarily autism, Puzzles Bakery & Café operates as an “integrated workplace.”
Field Goods is a subscription-based local food service that was launched in 2011 by Donna Williams. Field Goods subscribers receive 5 to 8 different types of fruits and vegetables each week, sourced from over 80 small farms, primarily in the Hudson Valley. In addition, Field Goods’ no-cost wellness program for businesses is proven to change diets by significantly increasing vegetable consumption.
Field Goods hired its first disabled employees two years after starting its delivery service. Proving to be dedicated and reliable for Field Goods’ routine jobs, employees with disabilities now comprise a significant percentage of Field Goods’ work force. As Donna Williams explained. “Turnover and no-shows were really hurting us. I needed to find reliable people with the enthusiasm for repetitive tasks. Making a call to the Ulster-Greene ARC to solve this problem was one of the smartest things I have done. We have brought in over a dozen employees through ARC and similar agencies.”