Lourdes Santiago headshotThe New York State Industries for the Disabled recognized Lourdes Santiago, a GoodTemps program participant, as outstanding performance awardee for her clerical work in a contract with the New York City Human Resources Administration.

The co-recipients and all 2014 Joslin Outstanding Performers were honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Monday, September 8 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs. That evening, NYSID also kicked off its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of its founding. Sixteen New York City and Long Island area New Yorkers with disabilities were among 59 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers honored through NYSID’s annual people-centered awards program. In its 11th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized 534 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 13 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

Lourdes Santiago was diagnosed with severe hearing impairment when she was born and her impairment became more pronounced through her adolescence and adulthood. Today, she can only hear when using a hearing aid.

Lourdes attended Lowell High School, with a curriculum that provided accommodations for people with disabilities, but she found it very difficult to keep up with her classmates. She was diagnosed as having a learning disability. She describes hearing loss as living in enforced silence. Unable to hear normally she had to work hard to learn how to speak so people could understand her. She worked and worked and worked using her hearing aids as a window to the world to learn how to form sounds with her teeth, lips, tongue and to be able to communicate with people. She later took intensive speech therapy classes at Hunter College to further improve and enhance her speaking ability.

She was laid off from a six-year permanent job at Bank of New York. Determined to bounce back she sent out resumes and going on interviews.   She sent out hundreds of resumes and while she got a few interviews there were no job offers. She continued to look for work however was turned down many times with no explanation.

In 2012, GoodTemps referred her for a position doing clerical work at the NYC Human Resources Administration. After the interview she was selected and remains a valued employee of HRA for more than one year.

Lourdes at computerIn her job, Lourdes transfers information on the HRA (MICSA) system to Excel after alphabetizing the information in order of last name from A to Z.   She then pulls the hard files, assigns each file a code and then double checks all information.   If a case file number does not match, she puts it to the side and prints out information from a WMS screen which allows her to accept or reject that case. She then prepares a full report on her findings and presents that to her supervisor.   She also keeps up with the many changes in the system and adapts to new procedures and protocols.

Lourdes is also involved in her community.   She has worked with the Dress for Success Program, where, she advised disadvantaged job seekers on what clothes they should choose for job searches and interviews. She has also volunteered at the New York University Langone Medical Center as an office assistant helping the doctors, nurses, staff and patients with administrative and clerical duties.

Her supervisor at HRA said “Lourdes is detail oriented, careful and very reliable.   She makes sure the job is done right the first time so there is no need to correct mistakes.   She also goes the extra mile when necessary to get the best results possible.”

“For 40 years, NYSID has been turning business opportunities into jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities, and we are proud to recognize this year’s Joslin Outstanding Performers,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “They provide incredible examples of how much New York State benefits by having a workforce that is inclusive of persons with disabilities, particularly as NYSID celebrates ‘40 Years of Looking Forward’ during this upcoming anniversary year.”

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates excellence in Preferred Source employment by New Yorkers with disabilities. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook. For more information on the Joslin Awards, including videos of previous award recipients, visit http://www.nysid.org/joslin.cfm.


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