Several Area Companies Honored for Making Strides to Offer a More Inclusive Workplace


The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB) recently held its 2021 Annual Meeting where it “kicked-off” the Westchester-Putnam Pathways Pledge campaign, modeled after the NYS Pathways Pledge initiated by the Reimagine NY Commission. It is a year-long campaign with the goal to create awareness of the steps employers and educators can take to create a more inclusive workforce and expand career pathway opportunities for those traditionally underserved. For this collaboration to work, both public and private-sector employers and educational institutions are being asked to take steps towards reforming their talent recruitment, updating curriculum, implementing training, and changing promotion policies to foster more career path opportunities. The action pledge takes only a few minutes and is simple to do.

In addition, the WPWDB has announced that they will receive support for this important year-long initiative from Westfair Communications, publishers of The Westchester Business Journal. The goal of the partnership is to bring greater attention and visibility to the importance of the Pathways Pledge and to encourage more employers to sign on to the year-long initiative.

To date 19 organizations have made the action pledge:

  • Bonnie Ball, Mount Vernon School District
  • Jan Fisher, Nonprofit Westchester
  • Alyson Trudeau, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
  • Teresita Wisell, Westchester Community College
  • Terry Kirchner, Westchester Library System
  • Sherry Bruck, Harquin Creative Group
  • Joanne Dunn, Youth Shelter Program of Westchester
  • Deb Milone, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce
  • Maureen Jacobson, Candela Systems Corporation
  • Allison Madison, Madison Approach Staffing
  • Wiley Harrison, BYB—Business of Your Business
  • David Singer, Robison Energy
  • Robert Sanders, Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.
  • James Schutzer, JDM Benefits, An Alera Group Company
  • Jason Chapin, The Westchester County Association, Inc.
  • Cosette Gutierrez, Latino U College Access (LUCA)
  • Sharon Chambers, Westchester County Government
  • Dr. Marsha Gordon, The Business Council of Westchester
  • Laurence Gottlieb, Robert Martin Company

Additionally thirteen businesses from Westchester and Rockland were inducted into the Pathways Pledge as a result of their commitment to hiring individuals with Disabilities. As October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), ACCES-VR held its annual event on October 8th, presenting awards to employers who were nominated for their inclusive hiring practices. Thom Kleiner made virtual certificate presentations to those companies.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The thirteen NDEAM awardees being inducted into Pathways Pledge are:

  • Cambria Hotel White Plains, White Plains, NY
  • Scarsdale Library, Scarsdale, NY
  • Westchester Independent Living Center, White Plains, NY
  • Walgreens, Thornwood, NY
  • Walgreens, Eastchester, NY
  • Walgreens, Yonkers, NY
  • Meals on Wheels, Yonkers, NY
  • Bark and Purr, Yonkers, NY
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Yonkers, NY
  • ShopRite, Pearl River, NY
  • M.A.D.E. Transitional Services, Spring Valley, NY
  • Stony Point Conference Center, Stony Point, NY
  • Society of the Arts (SOTA), West Haverstraw, NY

Westchester County Executive George Latimer explained, “2020 illuminated many systemic issues in our counties, including the labor shortage in the trades, the untapped workforce of those with barriers to employment, diversity inequities, the skills gap and educational shortcomings. These issues permeate every institution at every level and the only way to achieve significant change is for each of us to commit to taking small and large actions within our respective organizations and communities. Under the Pathways Pledge, we’re asking for a commitment from 250 employers and 50 educators as part of a year-long campaign.”

WPWDB Executive Director, Thom Kleiner said, “We thank those who have already made a pledge and hope you will help us spread the word. It's really easy to sign up, it takes only about three to five minutes, and it’s really easy to demonstrate success. Those that make the “pledge” can sign on to a variety of actions that fit their organization. Our goal is to spend the next year creating awareness that we can all take some form of action that will strengthen our county’s economy and workforce.”

To register a business or nonprofit for the Pathways Pledge in Westchester or Putnam, click here


To register a business or nonprofit for the Pathways Pledge in Westchester or Putnam, click here

The Pathways Pledge
As stakeholders in the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board Network, we pledge to each other to take action, to make a difference, to do our part to move the needle and be held accountable for our contributions:


  • Examine current job descriptions and update credential requirements.
  • Consider taking out 4-year degree minimum criteria for jobs that don't require it.
  • Write a training plan to expand existing workforce skill sets.
  • Create an employee recruitment plan and consider alternative employee recruitment methods, including one for those with disabilities.
  • Map out resources that can help an employee get back to work, e.g., childcare, transportation, etc.

Education Providers

  • Visit an employer’s worksite and ask about the specific skill sets needed in their sector.
  • Hold a career exploration job fair.
  • Provide students technical and trade educational information.
  • Introduce soft skills training in the curriculum.

THE WESTCHESTER-PUTNAM WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BOARD (WPWDB) is comprised of leaders and staff of state and county government agencies, non-profits, public education, and the private sector who work together to strengthen the partnerships between business, education, and service providers within the “Career Center Network” to meet the needs for a skilled workforce. The WPWDB pursues funding opportunities and develops model programs and leading-edge practices. The “Network” is made up of four Career Centers (White Plains, Mount Vernon, Peekskill, and Carmel) as well as partner agencies that provide state-of-the-art technology, training, resources, and services to youth, adults and employers. For more information, visit

Top Row (Left to Right) - Jan Fisher, Nonprofit Westchester; Jason Chapin, The Westchester County Association, Inc.; Dr. Marsha Gordon, The Business Council of Westchester; Wiley Harrison, BYB—Business of Your Business.

Middle Row (Left to Right) - Laurence Gottlieb, Robert Martin Company; James Schutzer, JDM Benefits, An Alera Group Company; Allison Madison, Madison Approach Staffing; Alyson Trudeau, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.

Bottom Row (Left to Right) - Robert Sanders, Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.; David Singer, Robison Energy; Maureen Jacobson, Candela Systems Corporation; Teresita Wisell, Westchester Community College.

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