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Cornell Creative Business and Arts Center Receives 2019 CQL Award of Excellence

The Cornell Creative Business and Arts Center, established by The Arc Mid-Hudson in New York, was recognized with a 2019 Award of Excellence by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. The Business and Arts Center was transformed from a sheltered workshop site into a vibrant environment that cultivates a synergy between businesses, the local arts community, and people with disabilities.

“The center is a very inventive way to repurpose a sheltered workshop, benefiting both the community as well as people supported by the Arc,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “We commend The Arc Mid-Hudson for their efforts and are delighted to recognize them with this award.”

The Business Center provides nine artisan work sites which support businesses to produce, package, and ship their products. The businesses receive reduced operating costs in return for hiring individuals with a disability. Currently 11 people with disabilities are employed by the nine businesses, with each person earning at least minimum wage. In addition, the Arts Center encompasses a 10,000 square foot open space consisting of 10 artist studios, 1 dance/movement studio, and a community room workshop where both people supported by the Arc as well as community members can work creatively together and empower one another in order to achieve their goals and reach their true potential.

The Arc Mid-Hudson carefully selected specific start-up businesses from all over the United States that align in values, embrace this unique relationship, and have proven to show profit in their product. The current organizations located at the Business Center span many different industries, including a hemp store, an organic hot sauce company, locally grown currant beverage company, and additional artisanal food creators. Through the Business and Arts Center, The Arc Mid-Hudson and especially people receiving services are seen as a valuable resource to their community, with new and exciting prospects for employment, opportunities for artistic expression, and an innovative medium to engage with others.

The CQL Awards of Excellence recognize individuals, organizations, and/or systems that exemplify the very best in human services for people with disabilities. The 2019 award recipients were selected among dozens of submissions by entities that have achieved CQL Accreditation and/or CQL Certification. Since the CQL Awards of Excellence was first established in 2015, there have been only 10 recipients of this international designation.


Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.