Rochester, NY – Monday, December 16, 2013 - Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will visit with people who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, as well as, veterans who are dealing with posttraumatic stress (PTS), military sexual trauma (MST), and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI) at CDS Monarch, a local non-profit, dedicated to assisting people to live and thrive in their community. During his tour on Monday, December 16th, Congressman Collins will have the opportunity to meet and speak with individuals and veterans about the important services they are receiving and depend on to fulfill their personal goals and dreams. His tour stops include: CDS Monarch’s Wolf Life Transitions Center, where he will meet individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities who are focusing on community habilitation and transition goals; Unistel, a subsidiary of CDS Monarch, where the Congressman will have the opportunity to see and hear from individuals working in the manufacturing and packaging of spices and seasonings for the US Military under federal contracts from the AbilityOne Commission; and Warrior Salute, a service of CDS Monarch, where he will meet with Veterans who are receiving critical comprehensive clinical therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and temporary housing.

The work done at Unistel provides a supportive work environment for people with disabilities, including veterans, where they can gain the valuable vocational skills needed to transition into community employment. There has been a decrease in the availability and fairness of awarding contracts to the nonprofits who are able to provide these employment opportunities to people with disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is twice as high (12.3%) as the rate of people without disabilities (6.4%) and there continues to be a shortfall in the number of competitive community and supportive employment opportunities available.

“CDS Monarch provides critical services to the disabled community and local veterans throughout the greater Rochester area,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “CDS Monarch is a champion for people who need service, support and a helping hand. Every individual, regardless of their disability or challenging circumstances, deserves the opportunity to work, learn new skills and be a productive member of their community. Leaders in Washington must work to ensure that the disabled and veterans needing service have opportunities to better their lives.”

People with disabilities and veterans deserve the same opportunities as anyone else to access competitive employment and to have a choice of quality care that assists them to be productive, successful members of our community,” stated Sankar Sewnauth, CDS Monarch President/CEO. “We are proud to have officials like Congressman Collins recognize the value and importance of such opportunities for our fellow citizens in the community. We appreciate all the support and advocacy he provides.