BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Every day, all day, inside the Tri-Main Building in Buffalo, people with disabilities work side by side with newly arrived refugees to learn light manufacturing skills that may eventually get them all permanent jobs in the workforce.
“They need to learn those skills,” said Daren Lisicki, director of employment services for Diversified Labor Solutions. “They need to learn teamwork, stamina, what it means to come back from a break, all those attributes that we find so common and easy to understand when you come from another country or have a disability, those sometimes are a little bit more difficult. So we work with those individuals and support them all along the way.”
Tuesday’s task was packing foam posts that a company will use to ship garage doors. “You’re very productive about your day like right now, we got a lot of work to do and we have to finish our jobs, finish our tasks,” said Christina Granbois, an employee of Diversified Labor Solutions who set production goals and surpasses them. “I feel proud because I was able to go up a hundred, like a thousand you know. One time, I hit a thousand on the vitamins, you know.”
Each year, about fifty local companies either hire some of these workers or contract with this service to bring the workers on the road to complete projects at other work sites, according to Lisicki. “So every single day, we have a hundred or 120 people out in the community working at these various locations.”
The Cantalician Center for Learning has a 40 year tradition of training people with disabilities, but it wasn’t until about 7 years ago that this workforce united with Journey’s End Refugee Services…in a mission that just landed them a $100,000 grant from the Regional Economic Development Council to help improve the skills of 30 more refugees.
Ibrahim Diriye is an assistant supervisor with the Cantalician Center. He was born in Somalia, came to the US in 2012, and now works with the refugees. “We are almost 600, 700 refugee people. I have to explain how to work, how to keep time.”
See more about the program here