In 2011 New York State withdrew support and discontinued funding for work centers that employed people with disabilities. The Arc Mid-Hudson work center on Cornell Street in Midtown Kingston was forced to close the 20,000 sq. ft. building and 300 people with disabilities became unemployed. In 2016, both the unemployment rate of people with disabilities, and the economic and development need to revitalize Midtown Kingston was increasing. The Arc Mid-Hudson created the idea of bringing businesses into Kingston and employing people with disabilities at the vacant work center that is now the newly renovated Cornell Creative Business Center.
In Ulster County 65% of people with disabilities are unemployed, which is unacceptable. After reviewing many different employment sectors, The Arc Mid-Hudson decided to create an artisan food production work center within Cornell Creative. The companies that are currently partnering with the Cornell Creative Business Center will receive reduced operating costs in return for hiring individuals with a disability. The plan is for the businesses to hire one or more employee with a disability and as their business grows so will the need to find larger accommodations. This will allow new businesses to move in and then the cycle begins all over again.
The Cornell Creative Business Center provides nine artisan work sites which includes a shared shipping and receiving warehouse and will allow businesses to have their employees produce, package, label and ship their products. The Arc Mid-Hudson carefully chose specific start-up businesses from all over the United States that have proven to show profit in their product, share our vision and are excited to be a part of this unique relationship. These companies have invested in Ulster County in hopes to grow their business, increase economic development in the area and promote overall good health in the community.