18 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • FEBRUARY 2019
Garden City-based Life’s WORC
provides comprehensive support to
people with special needs, including
intellectual challenges, developmental
disabilities, and autism. Currently, the
organization manages more than 40 homes
and 12 nonresidential programs throughout
Long Island, Queens and Manhattan.
We recently interviewed Kevin Lee,
Life’s WORC information technology
(IT) director, about how the organization
uses technology in its mission and
Q: What would you say is the mission
of your organization?
Kevin Lee: Life’s WORC provides
comprehensive support to people with
special needs including intellectual
challenges, developmental disabilities
and autism. In addition to having a
great reputation of providing quality
support to a special population, Life’s
WORC is also known for its efficiency.
In fact, as cited in our most recent
audited financial report, 90 percent of
the money received by Life’s WORC is
spent directly on the individuals in our
homes and programs.
Q: How does your organization
use technology to accomplish that
KL: Security for staff and individuals we
serve is paramount. We have cameras and
swipe cards at our facilities. We also implemented
touch-based time clock solutions,
which leverages photos for accurate capture
of employee time entries, which will eliminate
paper and error.
Q: How do the swipe cards help?
KL: You can’t get into certain rooms and
you can’t get into buildings off-hours. So,
the buildings automatically lock down
and so do the stairwells. You need to swipe
cards to use the elevator access. We can
actually zone off parts of buildings.
Q: And what are the benefits of having a
touch-based time clock solution?
KL: That eliminates a lot of the manual
Spotlight Long Island
Life’s WORC IT director on how the organization
uses technology to accomplish its mission
punch time card, the buddy system, I
would say … and takes away a lot of the
paperwork, because what it does is, you’re
assigned a personal PIN and you go in
front of all the facilities and the way you
clock in is it actually takes a picture of you
and it does facial recognition.
Q: Cybersecurity is a big issue now. Is
that an issue for your organization?
KL: It hasn’t been an issue yet. But that
doesn’t mean we’re not diligent on it. We
are now asking for audits and penetration
tests. All of our network is housed
in a secured, hardened data center with
multiple colocation to provide full redundancy—
and they’re all HIPAA Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act compliant. Our backend is secure and
scalable to run Life’s WORC workloads
with the flexibility to deploy and manage
Q: Have you used augmented reality, virtual
reality (VR) or artificial intelligence
(AI) yet, or do you plan to?
KL: We plan on exploring that — especially
the AI. Augmented reality or VR might
be of interest for marketing purposes.
Q: Please tell readers about what you do
in your role as IT director.
KL: As a director of technology, my
responsibilities include overseeing the
infrastructure, technical operations
and managing the IT team in order to
achieve goals, meet quotas, eliminate
security risks, increase user satisfaction,
and maintain operations and systems.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of
your job and why?
KL: Technology changes rapidly. Users,
managers at all levels, and competitors
pressure the IT department to implement
new technology simply because it
is new. The challenge is deciding which
of these “new” technologies will work
best in advancing the organization, and
which are better off to avoid for the
organization. You need to have a solid
understanding of the organization prior
to jumping into new trends in technology.
You must always ask: “How does
this new technology address our current
Q: How do you work to overcome
KL: Training. We are very proud of
the fact that staff is trained often and
frequently, but it can be challenging
at times for staff to come to the training
centers. We plan on overcoming these challenges
with video conferencing, where staff
can log in remotely and see a live presentation
from their residences.
Q: The 50th anniversary of Life’s WORC
is coming up in only two years. Do you
have any specific plans to celebrate that
you can share with us?
KL: Life’s WORC is establishing a special
50th Anniversary Planning Committee
which is being chaired by Vicki
Schneps-Yunis, the agency’s founder and
Long Island Press publisher. This committee
will establish a schedule of activities
throughout the year — 2021 — which will
culminate in a 50th Anniversary Gala.