Workshop closing. Shared on Facebook by Disability Rights Wisconsin

Wausau workshop for disabled workers to shut down

Bob Dohr, Gannett Wisconsin Media     11:02 a.m. CST January 1, 2015

A nonprofit organization that provides a workshop and job placement for people with disabilities will eliminate the facility-based part of its operation in Wausau.

Northern Valley Industries Inc. will be phased out by June 30. The sheltered workshop, which has been in existence since the mid-1960s, provides obs for some 60 workers, performing subcontract fabrication, assembly and packaging for local businesses

"We're changing our pre-vocational program from a facility-based training program to a community-based training program and focusing on community job placement through supported and integrated employment," Northern Valley Executive Director Terri Kischel said.

Supported employment is an approach of helping people with disabilities participate in the competitive labor market, helping them find meaningful jobs and providing ongoing support from a team of professionals.

The reason for the change is philosophical, not financial, Kischel said.

"We have a group of individuals who have tremendous abilities and skills, and having been a provider of supported and integrated employment, we recognize that in them are the abilities to have success in the community, which has been the objective of our work as a pre-vocational provider," she said.

The transition already has begun at Northern Valley, Kischel said. In October, the organization hosted a job fair-type "supported employment day" and intends to hold another one in January.

She said Northern Valley also started implementing "work experiences" for some consumers, having them do short-term, paid work at employers in the community.

Kischel said she recognizes the switch will be a "big change" for some clients, whose range of disabilities varies.

"I think that it is going to be a difficult transition for them because they're facing a decision that they maybe thought they wouldn't have to make, which is, 'What do I do next?'"

— Bob Dohr writes for Daily Herald Media, Wausau.

Views: 153

Comment by Thomas Spellman on January 5, 2015 at 5:56pm

What was the Board vote to close it?      What is the reaction of the local folks???   Legal Action??  It is possible that since the Workshop is a community asset that the current board can not dissolve it???  

Comment by Kathleen Springhorn on January 5, 2015 at 6:23pm

I don't know Thomas. But this isn't good news. And Disability Wisconsin trumpets it as a great thing. 

If you read about them, they are governor appointed but not government funded. They certainly don't represent everyone on the spectrum.

Comment by Thomas Spellman on January 5, 2015 at 8:06pm

I will let you know what my attorney friend finds out.  I sent him this article.  He was told that all was well and then this  Hummmmmm   DRW probably has a duty to represent all of us not there selected few.  How did you get the article??    Peace   Tom

Comment by Kathleen Springhorn on January 5, 2015 at 8:09pm

Disability Rights Wisconsin posted it on their Facebook page. I liked their page, and the Survival Coalition so I get the news.It is unclear what the Survival Coalition is about, or where they get their funding. I'm not sure who sets the agenda for these quasi governmental organizations. They have "listening" sessions. But the point of view they present is not inclusive.

Comment by Thomas Spellman on January 6, 2015 at 4:35am

on their face book page     WOW!!!   Will follow up with my attorney friend and see if we can file a bias complaint against DRW as they clearly must represent ALL individuals with developmental disabilities or so it seems.  Any who read this let me know it you are willing to sign on to the bias complaint if and when but to know that we have 5 or 10 or 50 now will help   Peace   Tom

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