CWTC impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals with disabilities in central Illinois.
CWTC. What is it? One of the biggest challenges facing the organization is people knowing not only who we are, but what we do. Like many nonprofit organizations, Community Workshop and Training Center faces challenges with state funding cutbacks, employment challenges, declining donations and more. Despite these challenges, CWTC still maximizes the independence of adults with disabilities.
One Consumer’s Story
Phillip started his journey for independence 26 years ago when he moved into the Crabel Court Community Living Facility in Chillicothe and started his work career at CWTC packaging Caterpillar parts. Today, at the age of 49, he continues to work part-time at CWTC, along with his community job at Bergner’s where he has assisted with new inventory on the dock since 2005.
Phillip has developed many independent living skills with the assistance of staff in both his residential and vocational settings. He is very active in his community, participating in his church’s dart league, bowling once a week and enjoying fishing with the members of his church. Phillip’s long-term goal is, “to have my own apartment someday. I need to work on cooking and budgeting my money. The staff has helped me to learn how to clean my room, do laundry and be a good worker.”
Who We Are & What We Do
CWTC is a not-for-profit organization that serves adults with disabilities in the central Illinois area. It was founded in 1960 by a group of parents with an original crew of 13 individuals and one staff member. Today, it serves more than 650 individuals on an annual basis with a staff of 170. Services provided by CWTC include: job training and job placement programs, residential services that provide supervised and supported living options, psycho-social rehabilitation and developmental training. The mission of CWTC is to provide programs and services to adults with disabilities, enriching their quality of life, promoting social change and optimizing their potential for independence.
This organization is also celebrating a 52-year partnership with Caterpillar Inc. On a daily basis, 275 individuals with disabilities are packaging parts for Caterpillar in CWTC’s 90,000-square-foot facility. On average, the individuals served by CWTC process over half a million pieces per week while meeting or exceeding the quality standards set by Caterpillar. This contract allows the individuals to earn a paycheck, learn work skills and develop a sense of responsibility, thus enhancing the ability of those served by CWTC to maximize their potential for independence.
Other training opportunities available for those served by CWTC are janitorial and maintenance services that include NISH programs at the federal courthouse, Illinois National Guard, and Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, community employment training provides job exploration, skills training, job coaching and follow-up. CWTC consumers work at many businesses in the community, from Maui Jim and Schnucks to Kroger and Senior World.
Training opportunities also include volunteer efforts. CWTC consumers volunteer at Luthy Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Prairie State Park, for the Friends of Rock Island Trail and the lunch program at Sacred Heart, and serve as Salvation Army bell ringers. Individuals are encouraged to give back to the community in which they work and live.
Independence: A 24-Hour Commitment
CWTC owns 22 residential facilities and programs that offer four levels of supervised or supported living for individuals. Participants must be 18 and have a documented disability. Licensed by the Department of Public Health, intermediate care facilities provide supervised living for individuals who are just learning independent living skills.
Community living facilities provide an atmosphere of skill-building and are also supervised, licensed facilities. Meanwhile, supportedliving apartments provide independent living and are supported by visiting staff members. Independent living provides for maximum independence with small homes within the community and family support services as needed.
If you would like to take a tour of CWTC, we would love to show you firsthand what our staff and consumers are capable of. Just be prepared for the fact that, by the time you leave, you will be touched by what you see and hear. You will see remarkable people accomplishing remarkable goals, all made possible by the staff and friends of CWTC. Become an ambassador and help spread the word. To schedule a tour, call (309) 686-3300.iBi