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Workforce Summit to Anchor Pathfinder's National Down Syndrome Month Events

EDMESTON, NEW YORK, September 26, 2017 …Pathfinder Village will celebrate October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month with events centered at its Edmeston campus.  Chief among these will be the 2017 Workforce Summit, sponsored by the Village’s Kennedy Willis Center, on Friday, October 20, 2017.  Registration for the event is now open through a secure link at Pathfinder’s website at

The Workforce Summit will feature key presenters including Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive officer of Chobani, Inc.  Prior to Mr. Ulukaya’s keynote address, the Pathfinder Village Hand Bell Choir will perform several numbers, highlighting their role as talented musicians and ambassadors for people with Down syndrome.

“Since 1991, there has been a national observance each October to celebrate the achievements and abilities of people with Down syndrome,” said Helen Stepowany, senior director of the Kennedy Willis Center and organizer of the 2017 Workforce Summit. “The relationships that develop among people with Down syndrome and the Direct Support Professionals they work with each day are key to the fulfillment of peoples’ lives and well-being. The 2017 Workforce Summit will showcase how important these relationships are, and highlight exemplary programs that speak to human service agency employment and retention concerns.  The Summit will also present emerging technologies that support people living with disabilities.”

Online registration details for this groundbreaking Summit are available through a link at Pathfinder Village’s website at; the $45 registration fee includes all materials, refreshments, and a buffet lunch. Other presenters will include workforce experts Drs. Amy Hewitt and Barbara Kleist, of the University of Minnesota; John Raffaele of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals; Douglas Bauer of The Clark Foundation; and Melinda Mack of the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals.  More information is available by contacting Pathfinder Village at (607) 965-8377, ext. 156. 

Other events in October in celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month will include:

  • Saturday, October 1: Participation in the regional NDSS Buddy Walk, Utica
  • Friday, October 6: Open House for Pathfinder’s Otsego Academy post-secondary program.
  • Saturday, October 14: Exchange activities with Colgate University students at the Village
  • Saturday, October 21:  Networking at the Council for Exceptional Children’s conference, Binghamton.
  • Saturday, October 28:  Annual Community Trick-or-Treating Event and Haunted House for area families.

About Pathfinder Village: Pathfinder Village is an internationally respected open-access community in upstate New York, and was founded in 1980 to provide people living with Down syndrome and related disabilities an independent, engaging, and fulfilling lifestyle. The Village offers highly successful educational and pre-vocational programs, including its post-secondary program, Otsego Academy, and its community-based day services option for regional residents.  To learn more about Pathfinder Village, please call (607) 965-8377, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., visit the website at, or visit our fan page on the popular social networking site, Facebook.

“Pathfinder Village helps people find their
way in life to independence, success, and
maturity — all the things you want for your family.”
Marian Mullet | Founder of Pathfinder Village