Arc Herkimer lauds addition to executive team

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HERKIMER — Arc Herkimer, 350 S. Washington St., has announced Catherine Loomis has joined the agency’s executive team as the vice president of community engagement and career development.

In this new position, Loomis will remain in a supervisory role at Career Connections, where she has spent much of her time the last 13 years, in addition to overseeing Family Support Services, Clinical Support Specialists, and increasing outreach.

“I am very excited to continue my career at Arc Herkimer by building relationships between local business owners, families, and other organizations,” Loomis said. “My goal is to connect people to quality services to enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Loomis began her career at Arc Herkimer as a Computer Lab Instructor after graduating from Nazareth College. Since that time, she has moved up throughout the agency, taking on a variety of roles and responsibilities. Previously, as the Career Connections Director, she was responsible for a staff of 20 who concentrated on helping people supported seek and keep employment.

With Loomis’ leadership, the Career Connections program grew to include 10 vocational services, placing nearly 100 people in community jobs each year.

These services included job development, coaching, and other programs to teach individuals work readiness skills and ensure success on the job.

Loomis focused on supporting individuals and families, consistently reviewing their vocational needs, while making businesses a top priority to maintain relationships and supportive working environments.

“I really believe that every single person, if we find the right opportunity and provide the right support, has the potential to find a job that is right for them,” says Loomis.

“It is so important to try all of the options until the best fit is found because employment makes a difference in someone’s life for their self-esteem, ability, and independence,” she added.

In addition to career development, Loomis will concentrate on providing other supports and services to enhance family stability and aid for those with a disability.

Knowing that processes for intake, assessment and support can take time, she focuses on explaining procedures step by step, providing realistic time frames, and keeping an open line of communication between individuals, family members, care managers, and the community.

“Outreach is about forming relationships and educating the public on our services, so that when someone knows a person who needs support, we can be there,” explains Loomis.

“These conversations need to be repeated over and over again because you never know who has a family member or friend who may benefit from services in some way,” Loomis added.

She also maintains an upbeat attitude with her team and has instilled the belief that everyone has the right to quality services and the potential for quality work.

“A supportive attitude can be contagious,” says Loomis.

“On the hard days, I focus on the impact we have had on someone’s life and try to keep everyone motivated to explore new opportunities, knowing eventually we’re going to make a difference,” she added.

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