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Univera Healthcare grant expands job training program for people with developmental disabilities


Thu, Jul 19th 2018 10:45 am
Empower, the not-for-profit organization formerly known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, received a $3,000 grant from Univera Healthcare to upgrade two job training programs that support people with developmental disabilities.
In the past two years, Empower opened two bottle return centers, called Empties for Empower, that are located in the Town of Niagara and the Town of Wheatfield. At these businesses, workers with disabilities learn job skills and earn a wage while sorting bottles and cans dropped off by the public. Univera Healthcare provided funding to add promotional messaging to two trucks that are used to do large volume bottle/can pickups.
"Univera Healthcare is a wonderful corporate partner, and we are grateful to them for helping us repurpose our trucks and advertise these services," Empower CEO Jeff Paterson said. "More community groups, individuals and businesses are signing up as customers every day, which is important because it ensures there is enough work for the people we support."
"Western New York is our home, and our health plan employs 500 people who really care about the communities we serve," Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter said. "We instantly recognized an opportunity where seed money from our health plan could reap great personal rewards for individuals served by Empower, and the community that embraces its mission."
With 300 employees and a $14 million budget, Empower is one of Western New York's 60 largest nonprofit organizations. The administrative offices, preschool and community clinic are located on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara. The job training and day programs division is based in the Town of Niagara and the Town of Wheatfield, while residential facilities are located throughout Niagara County. Licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department, Empower is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State.

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