Fedcap 2014 Graduation
Fedcap celebrated the courage and accomplishments of graduates of its programs in a rousing, inspirational graduation ceremony on June 12th at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater.
Hundreds of guests – including families and friends of the graduates and Fedcap board members, business partners, leadership and staff – cheered on the graduates from the opening procession to the presentation of diplomas.
"This journey is not an easy one," said Fedcap President and CEO Christine McMahon. "The strength and dedication that brought you to this proud moment inspires all of us, and will continue to be there to support you as you build your careers."
Fedcap Board Chair Mark O’Donoghue, in a taped video message, offered congratulations and best wishes to the graduates and their families on what he described as "a day of great achievement and accomplishment."
Two Fedcap graduates, who were joined by their families on the stage, described overcoming great personal challenges to graduate from Fedcap programs and move on to careers. "Fedcap helped me find my dream of becoming a nurse," said graduate Isatou Batchilly, who will be attending nursing school in the fall.
To accomplish this important work, Fedcap is part of a strong community network. ACCESS-VR- Counselor Ken Scarboro was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Vocational Rehabilitation Award – given each year to an outstanding counselor in one of Fedcap’s partner agencies.
Fedcap board member Ken Raisler then introduced Lesvia Maldonado, a program graduate who works at FreshDirect, to present the company with Fedcap’s 2014 Corporate Partnership Award. Ms. Maldonado told the guests and fellow graduates how happy she is to be working at FreshDirect, and what a great company it is.
Jason Ackerman, CEO of FreshDirect, talked about the origins of the company and the importance of having a dream. He described the quality of students trained in our Career Design School, and how FreshDirect works side by side with Fedcap staff to develop a curriculum that meets the company’s needs. "Fedcap is a fantastic organization," Mr. Ackerman said. "The people who are trained there are skilled, competent and ready to work."
In an effort to further enhance our culinary training efforts, Ken Raisler described Fedcap’s efforts to build a large, state of the art kitchen in our new space at 210 East 43rd Street, where we will be able to train many more eager students.
During our Alumni Moment – a Graduation tradition - Fedcap board member Larry Ach introduced Fernando Santiago, a 2006 graduate of Fedcap’s Custodial Services Training program. Mr. Santiago overcame incarceration to become a trusted and valuable Fedcap employee who manages a custodial maintenance crew at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, under a Fedcap contract with SourceAmerica. Mr. Santiago inspired the graduates with his story and his words of encouragement. "Today I am a proud and happy man," Mr. Santiago said. "I’m here to tell you that with help from Fedcap and hard work you will find your second chance."
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer delivered a compelling keynote address and offered congratulations and best wishes to Fedcap graduates and families. "For some of you graduation may have seemed like a dream but you did it," she said. "It is just the first of more successes to come."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, as the graduates were handed their diplomas, they were greeted by Fedcap board member Judy Bergtraum, Dr. Roque Gerald, Sr. Vice President of Fedcap’s Educational Services and other members of Fedcap’s senior staff.
In closing remarks Fedcap Chief Operating Officer Joe Giannetto acknowledged the great work of the graduates and their families, having them all stand to vigorous applause. He also thanked ACCESS-VR, Joe Messina of NYSID and Adam Capers of Source America. "Our work is made possible through the work of our partner organizations such as NYSID and SourceAmerica," Mr. Giannetto said.