Maintaining Essential Services in the Big Apple
| By Jason Golden |
New York City is known for its amazing Broadway spectacles, passionate sports fans, the Statue of Liberty and great pizza. The Big Apple is also known for its resilience in the face of adversity and defining moments like 9-11 and Hurricane Sandy. COVID-19 is another in a long line of challenges that has put New York back in the spotlight. The world has been watching how it will answer. Fedcap Rehabilitation is one of SourceAmerica’s network of nonprofit agencies that employs people with disabilities who have been providing that answer across the city.
Fedcap has historically provided janitorial, mechanical maintenance, and other services, but has experienced unprecedented demand for its cleaning and disinfecting services since the beginning of the pandemic. Fedcap was ready when the need was greatest to meet the demands of federal, state, and city partners including the General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Army, Department of Defense, National Park Service, NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, and others.
Fedcap workers, trained annually in pandemic preparedness, are playing a critical role in ensuring the safety of essential workers and any incoming public visitors from the virus at all buildings managed by the agency. Fedcap crews, while strictly adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety guidelines, clean and disinfect all key touchpoints on a daily basis.
Special attention is paid to ensure the health and well-being of Fedcap's crews. "I tell my team every day, 'An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,'" said Fedcap Project Manager Andrew Hodge. "We pay close attention to ensure our crews are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). I'm extremely proud of this team and want to make sure they're all safe."
Every day, crew members like those at the GSA Federal Building in Newark, New Jersey, routinely perform proactive, extra cleaning services to ensure that all touchpoints are disinfected – including elevators, restrooms, and fire escape handrails. Whenever a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case has been reported in a building, teams put on additional PPE, including Tyvek suits, and perform "hotspot" deep cleaning with CDC-approved coronavirus-killing disinfectants, as they follow the virus’ path from building entry to exit.
"Our crews are an important part of the front line defense in the battle to eradicate COVID-19," said Fedcap Project Manager Jon Cray. "They come to work every day with a positive attitude and provide professional and timely services."
Fedcap crew members are among the city's front line workers who are showing extraordinary dedication and resilience during this unprecedented public health crisis. John, a custodian with Fedcap for 20 years, worries about family members in different parts of the city but is pleased to report that everyone is taking care of themselves. "I am proud to be doing my part in helping keep our customers safe," he said.
Ordinary activities like shopping for groceries and riding on the subway can be challenging during the pandemic, but Jaquetta, who has been with Fedcap for 27 years, is inspired that her job is helping to protect others.
"Hurricane Sandy was bad, but I have never seen anything like this," she said. "We're all holding up and helping and doing everything we can to keep people safe."
With safety as the top priority, the hard work, dedication, and preparedness of Fedcap crews has allowed for key buildings, and the essential workers who use them, to remain fully operational during this pandemic.
"I am extremely proud of the incredible work being done by Fedcap's staff during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Steve Coons, President of Fedcap Rehabilitation. "We are always equipped with the staff, tools, and personal PPE to deliver first-rate services to our federal, state, municipal, and commercial customers, to respond in moments of crisis, and to uphold the safety of staff and those who pass through the facilities we manage."
Fedcap is a member of SourceAmerica's network of more than 600 nonprofit agencies. This network employs more than 90,000 people with disabilities nationwide, some of them through the U.S. AbilityOne® Program, which is one of the largest sources of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Fedcap proudly serves the local community and employs people with disabilities through the AbilityOne Program, empowering them to achieve economic independence. In collaboration with SourceAmerica, Fedcap will be able to continue delivering essential custodial and facilities maintenance services for federal customers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.