Dave Osborn, operations shift supervisor for the CNYRIC’s Data Center, received a call four years ago that changed everything.
“A special education teacher from OCM BOCES contacted me to discuss having some of her students work in the Data Center,” said Osborn. “Looking back, I didn’t realize what an opportunity my team and I had been given.”
Over the past four years, the Data Center has employed two students through BOCES’ Work-Based Learning Business Partnership program. The first was a wheelchair-bound male who found his niche. “He loved shredding papers,” said Osborn. “He liked the sound the machine made and was really happy doing the work.”
For 2-3 days a week over the past three years, the Data Center has been home to North Syracuse Central School District student Alena. During that time, Osborn and Data Center colleague Rob Glowacki developed a meaningful relationship with the teen. Alena completed her experience at the Data Center in June 2016 and her vibrant personality is already missed.“She was a hugger, and would give out a ton of high-fives,” said Glowacki. “She was always a lot of fun -- she is just a great human being,” said Glowacki.
Alena was an inspiration to her Data Center colleagues and enriched their workday.

“Her smile was contagious,” said Osborn. “I could be having a bad day and then Alena would come to work with a big smile on her face -- and then I’d realize there was no reason to be upset. Alena taught me perspective.”
Alena enjoyed spending time with her friends at the Data Center, too. In fact, as soon as she arrived at the CNYRIC, she would excitedly call Osborn from the receptionist's desk to let him know she was ready to work. Some days she would bring a handmade treasure with her. Osborn’s office wall is decorated with colorful cards made by Alena.
“Birthdays were her thing -- she loved to celebrate and remembered when it was our big day,” said Osborn. “We enjoyed celebrating her birthday every year, too.”
Congratulations to Dave Osborn and Rob Glowacki who recently received a Work-Based Learning Business Partnership Award from OCM BOCES “in appreciation of their exemplary community service in developing a 21st-century workforce.”
“We’re honored,” said Glowacki. “Alena left her mark on us and we hope we made a positive impact on her.”
Although it will be tough to replace Alena, Osborn says he’s still hopeful he’ll receive another call. 
Data Center team members Dave Osborn (L) and Rob Glowacki (R) proudly display their made-by-Alena cards and Work-Based Learning Business Partnership Award.
  Alena (center) smiles with her friends at the CNYRIC.
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