Hope to formalize by year end
In a joint statement today the CEOs of Unity House and Northeast Career Planning, two longstanding Capital Region human services organizations, announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding that positions them to work toward a merger by the end of 2020.
Unity House CEO Chris Burke and Northeast Career Planning CEO Nancy Rider said:
“After months of discussion by our boards of directors, begun long before the world was changed by the current pandemic, and following a thorough examination of each organization’s operational and financial status, we are moving toward merging the two organizations by year’s end. The missions and the cultures of our two organizations fit together very well and merging two strong organizations into one even more healthy organization makes a great deal of sense. Joining forces positions us to continue to serve the community in the best possible way. Our commitment to our communities and to our clients remains strong and we are confident that as a result of the proposed merger we will be able to serve more clients more effectively and with expanded services.”
When the merger is complete, the organization will be known as Unity House but will continue to provide Northeast Career Planning programs and services that will retain their names and be referred to as “a service of Unity House.” Burke will lead the new organization as CEO and Rider will serve in a leadership role in the Employment Services division of the combined organization.
Unity House currently employs 350 individuals, and Northeast Career Planning employs 63. Although a merger may result in some reassignments, the two leaders said they anticipate that there will be a place for all employees within the organization. “There will be new opportunities for many staff members, and this will aid us in expanding programming, especially in employment services,” Burke said.
Unity House has had a strong presence in the community since 1971. During its nearly 50 years it has grown to meet the increasing needs of disadvantaged people to help them lead productive and healthy lives. The organization works to provide a wide range of services to meet the otherwise unmet needs of people who are struggling with poverty, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence. A Child’s Place, a day care and preschool program of Unity House, provides early intervention and pre-school developmental services in speech/language, physical and occupational therapy.
For 66 years, Northeast Career Planning, which was founded in 1954, has worked to help people break through barriers to employment. In addition to its Supported Employment Services, it provides work center services; Personal Recovery Oriented Services(PROS) for those with mental illness; work preparedness assessments; interpreter services; vocational rehab for those with chemical dependency issues; education supports for those with barriers to achieving their education goals; school-to-work assistance for youth with disabilities; and job placement, coaching and support and is an active member of New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID).
“We’re excited about what a merger could mean for our clients and our employees,” Burke said. “Northeast Career Planning excels at providing employment-related services and those services will enhance what Unity House is currently able to provide. A merger would be a win for both organizations.”
“We couldn’t ask for a better partner than Unity House, whose reputation for providing compassionate and outstanding services to those in need is in sync with the Northeast Career Planning mission,” said Rider. “We knew that finding the right partner when we were in a strong financial position was a wise strategy to ensure and grow our mission,” said Rider.
If the boards of directors of the two organizations decide to go forward with the merger, several regulatory agencies must approve before the merger would be complete. The two organizations are working toward a merger by year’s end.