A team of students from the Marcy campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) won the first-place prize of $15,000 in a competition to help people with disabilities succeed in their jobs.
The students competed in the 2019 CREATE Symposium that the Albany–based New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) hosted Wednesday at Empire State Plaza in Albany, the organization said in a news release.
CREATE is short for Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology, NYSID said. The program is now in its sixth year.
The competition involved engineering students from New York colleges who collaborated with rehabilitation organizations to develop inventions that help their workers who have disabilities perform their jobs more efficiently.
In winning the first-place prize, the SUNY Poly students invented a yoke remover to re-package cans of beer.
As described in the NYSID news release, workers at the ARC Oneida packaging plant remove plastic six-pack yokes (connected plastic rings) from beer cans that local breweries ship to the facility. This device will “simultaneously” remove the plastic rings of all four six-packs in a given box, “making the process more efficient,” NYSID said.
ARC Oneida is a NYSID member agency, per the news release.
A panel of judges made up of community leaders evaluated and scored the CREATE projects. Student teams competed to receive prize funds worth $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000 to be split between students, their universities and their rehabilitation organization partners.
Student teams from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Cooper Union in New York City won the second and third-place prizes, respectively.
The competition included nine colleges and 11 NYSID-member rehabilitation organizations producing 21 inventions, making it “the biggest year ever for CREATE,” NYSID said.
The nonprofit NYSID works at “advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”
Established in 1975, NYSID creates employment opportunities for more than 6,000 New Yorkers with disabilities annually through New York’s preferred source program. NYSID’s community rehabilitation member agencies and corporate partners are located throughout the state, “providing jobs in the community and in production facilities,” the organization said.
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