They are in their new building, and already good things are beginning to happen for the Sheltered Workshop.
Ginger Williams, the general manager of the workshop, said they have already gotten two new contracts, due to the increased size and better layout of their new facility.
That was something she had predicted the new location and specially designed building would help them do, and it did not take long for her prediction to come true.
Williams said they are hoping to hire more employees to fill the contracts, but first must find more transportation. They could hire as many as 12 to 15 additional workers, but right now only have transportation for four more.
Williams said it is a problem the boards that are associated with the Sheltered Workshop will be working on.
In the meantime, employees were hard at work, and enjoying the new, more spacious quarters.
Ricky Getz, one of the first 15 employees the Sheltered Workshop hired back in the 70s when it was begun, could not pinpoint just one thing he liked best about the new facilities. “I like the lounge, the bathrooms, everywhere,” he said.
“You have room to work here,” said Owen Jones as he was assembling boxes.
Mary Ellen Halbrook, a parent of one of the workshop’s original employees, was very impressed with the new facility. She came for a tour the day after the facility opened.
“It’s come a long way from that little place they started in at Rivermines in 1975,” she said. “It’s like a dream. You always dreamed that this is what it was going to be like some day.”
She said the first workshop building was very small, and its condition not very attractive. The new facility is “bright” and much more cheerful. She is pleased with it.
Halbrook said the effect of the Sheltered Workshop on her daughter’s life has been enormous. She believes that many of the employees would be stuck in front of televisions if it weren’t for the shelter, and they would have less chance to develop social and life skills.
“It’s her life,” she said. “She’s made so many friends here. It’s a place for her to go every day, and it makes a little extra money.”
Williams said finishing touches are still being put on the facility, but they will likely be ready for an open house later in the summer.
“We’re in,” she said. “But we still have a lot of work to do.”