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Contact: Mike Kusch, 315-336-4448
Fort Stanwix National Monument received the Mohawk Valley Regional Award October 12, 2004 from Governor George Pataki and the New York State Board of Regents for hiring individuals with disabilities. This award, given each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, honors the park for reaching out to the community to provide employment to people who have physical and mental impairments. The staffs at Fort Stanwix and the local Job Connections office recruited, interviewed and selected two people to work as Visitor Use Assistants. Their job is to welcome people to the park, provide informal interpretive and orientation programs, answer telephone calls, make sales transactions in the park bookstore, and much more.
The two people hired are Tina Cutler and Jennifer Stell. Both are from Rome, New York. "We are very happy to have hired two exceptional people," said Mike Kusch, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management. "Tina and Jennifer exhibit pride and dedication in what they do everyday they come to work. Everyone around them is energized by their enthusiasm and desire to do the best that they can do each day they are here."
After Tina and Jennifer were hired in October 2003 under the Employees with Disabilities Program, they participated in the park's new employee training classes with their job coaches. The training, which lasted two weeks, covered a multitude of topics, such as: fort history, interpretation, customer service, and bookstore operations. After the training, Tina and Jennifer and their job coaches worked side-by-side with park staff until everyone felt confident they could work without day to day supervision and training. Today, they are both important members of the park team and daily operations.