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Building Local Initiative Leads to New Partnerships With Local Businesses
The University’s Building Local initiative, launched in May 2019, sought to expand participation of local business enterprises—including those owned by women, minorities, veterans and others (referred to collectively as XBEs)—in University purchasing decisions.
Since the launch of the initiative, several local businesses have become newly-licensed partners of the University, selling products adorned with Syracuse University trademarks. Among them is Oswego Industries, which finalized its retail license with the University in July 2020.
The company, a non-profit based out of Fulton, New York, supports people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Person-centered services include pre-vocational and vocational training, supported employment and day habilitation programs.
Founded in 1968, Oswego Industries took on various government contracts through New York State Industries for the Disabled, including sewing hospital gowns and manufacturing leather belts for the Transportation Security Authority. This allowed the agency to assist individuals with pre-vocational and vocational supports.
“In addition to providing vocational supports we also offer community-based and site-based habilitation services designed to support people with disabilities in becoming as independent as possible,” said Jason DiBartolo, the company’s business development manager.
The agency expanded its manufacturing capabilities to offer BioThane and web belts for retail sale in 2019, with all proceeds benefiting people with disabilities. DiBartolo said the company was excited to join the Syracuse family.
“The University has been wonderful to work with, particularly given the exceptional circumstances arising from the pandemic. Their staff is very responsive, understanding and passionate about the work we are doing together.”
Rachel Duffy, director of trademark licensing, acknowledges the importance of the Building Local initiative and the opportunities it presents in the local community. “It’s so important that we as a University support our local businesses. It’s been a pleasure getting to know our new licensees, including Jason and the team at Oswego Industries,” she says.
Oswego Industries is producing orange BioThane belts with special University detailing. Multiple belt styles are available. The belts can be ordered directly from oi-wear.com or at select retailers around Central New York. For bulk orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org.