The Community Workshop and Training Center (CWTC) has been providing valuable programs and services to adults with disabilities for half a century now. Since its founding in 1960, the organization’s growth has been off the charts. Back then, CWTC served just 13 clients; today, they fulfill the needs of 825 individuals throughout the year.
CWTC specializes in finding employment for their clients and helping them develop community skills. Executive Director Gail Leiby has worked for the organization for the past 33 years and has witnessed much of the good the organization has done. “I have seen people with disabilities become contributing members of their community,” said Leiby. “I have seen them come from being very dependent upon others…to being independently functioning.”
CWTC accomplishes this by forming a bond that lasts a lifetime. From the time their clients walk in the door—sometimes as early as age 16—they become part of the “family,” and relationships are cultivated and maintained into old age. CWTC uses a combination of observation and assessment to match their clients with the jobs that best meet their individual needs. Some have been placed at restaurants and grocery stores, while others work at hotels and law firms.
During the recent economic downturn, no organization was unaffected—not even one as valuable as CWTC. Its employees were the ones most affected by the State of Illinois’ inability to make its promised payments. CWTC made it their goal to retain all of their employees, which required cutting a variety of programs—all of which the organization has subsequently been able to restore.
CWTC now stands on firm footing once again. Although its 50 years have been filled with highs and lows, the organization has never lost sight of its main goal—the individual betterment of those with special needs. A people-first organization, everything CWTC does is targeted toward fulfilling that goal. And after 50 years, it’s quite clear that they have succeeded. iBi