Tenney Comments On Study Regarding Economic Impact On Visually Impaired And Blind

Legislative Column from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I-New Hartford)
December 20, 2011
I recently joined with State Senator Joseph Griffo and the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) to unveil a new study regarding the economic impact and quality of life of New Yorkers who are visually impaired or blind. This issue is personally close to my heart, as my father was visually impaired and eventually became blind.

Entitled An Impact Analysis of the Industries for the Blind of New York State and Its Affiliated Agencies, the study was commissioned by Industries for the Blind of New York State, Inc. (IBNYS) and conducted by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute.

The study confirmed that being blind or visually impaired does not impede one’s employment abilities or opportunities in New York State. In fact, my own father served as a judge and former Governor David Paterson was the state’s first legally-blind governor.

According to the report, the work done by blind or visually impaired New Yorkers through IBNYS contributes $168 million to the state’s economy through eight regional agencies including Utica-based CABVI. Furthermore, IBNYS’ training costs per employee average $4,400, compared to the $10,000 per person spent by the state to provide federally-mandated training.

From this report, it is clear that the innovation and leadership at IBNYS, and agencies like CABVI, is helping to save taxpayer dollars and also put New Yorkers back to work. As we continue our efforts to spur economic development and create jobs, it is important to take notice of job-creators who are thinking outside of the box and, when applicable, use their successes as models for job creation across the state.

I would like to congratulate CABVI President and CEO Rudy D’Amico and his staff for their tireless efforts to employ people who are blind or visually impaired. Currently, CABVI provides comprehensive vision rehabilitation and workforce training programs to more than 1,100 people in eight counties in Central New York. On behalf of these 1,100 residents, thank you for your hard work and efficiency to give visually impaired or blind people a chance to be self sufficient.

This study reaffirms the notion that when creative minds come together for a common cause, they can accomplish great things. I will continue to work with groups like CABVI, IBNYS, local employers, and my colleagues in Albany to focus on job creation – and I ask that constituents from the 115th Assembly District share their ideas and suggestions with me. Please feel free to call me at (315) 853-2838, email me at tenneyc@assembly.state.ny.us.