Union Students' Horticulture Technology Helping Schenectady ARC Workers

Providing proper conditions for not only plants to grow, the Schenectady ARC Horticultural Center promotes growth among people.

"Instead of being told 'you can’t work this equipment,' they’re being told 'yes, go ahead; I’ll show you how to use it,' " said Union College professor James Hedrick.

Schenectady ARC serves dozens with disabilities. In a greenhouse behind the group’s Maple Ridge facility, 10 find employment. Though a partnership with New York State Industries for the Disabled, Union College engineering students recently unveiled a device designed to help those workers: a greenhouse temperature controller. Students have been developing programmable beds that use heating pads to regulate temperature.

An estimated 70 percent of New Yorkers with disabilities are unemployed. Aiming to reduce that number, NYSID sponsors “CREATE” -- Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology. The initiative connects engineering students with rehab agencies.

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