Project helps individuals with disabilities demonstrate vocational skills


ONEIDA — When it comes to mastering the ABCs of learning, it starts with STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Recently, The Arc Madison Cortland made its mark on the STEM curriculum in a partnership with Karyn Burns-Gerling of the ABC’s of STEM and New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc.

The Arc Madison Cortland’s Alternatives Industry was commissioned to manufacture STEM kits for BOCES programs of the Capitol Region. These distinctive educational tools included flash cards, activity guides, placements, posters, and additional hands-on materials that focus on exploratory learning.

The manufacturing project was spearheaded by employees of the Alternatives Industry, working alongside individuals who receive services from the agency.

“This partnership gave us an opportunity to showcase our integrated business enterprise and demonstrate the vocational skills that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can bring to the world of manufacturing and education,” said Darin Pearo, director of facilities and business operations at The Arc Madison Cortland. “We are so proud to support and engage our individuals, alongside students of our community.”

More than 70 STEM kits are now being supplied at no cost to school districts in the area, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, including GlobalFoundries, National Grid, NYSID, and Regeneron.

The kits offer unique tools that can guide students from all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds in gaining skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and innovation. In addition to educational materials, Alternatives Industry offers comprehensive manufacturing for a variety of outlets, including food packaging, furniture fabrication, mechanical assembly, custom packaging, warehouse distribution, recycling, and much more.

To learn more about The Arc Madison Cortland and all of its services, visit or @arcofmcny on social media.


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