Vocational Solutions expands manufacturing opportunities

Rebecca Walter - Blueridgenow.com
Date: Feb 5, 2018

Vocational Solutions has provided job opportunities and life skills training for adults with disabilities for decades, and recently got its biggest one yet.

The nonprofit now manufactures protective tarps, which is projected to bring in $700,000 in revenue, according to President and CEO Allen Combs. That is more than double the usual revenue Vocational Solutions brings in through its work opportunities.

“This is transformational for us,” he said. “It will have a positive impact on everyone.”

The tarps will be used in large plants that are undergoing roof repairs, Combs explained. Instead of shutting down part of the facility, the tarps will be used to catch any debris and keep operations running smoothly.

The project has an eight-person line, which includes a supervisor and three vocational rehabilitation clients. Job duties include sewing, cutting, folding and rolling the tarp material.

The opportunity came to Vocational Solutions with the help of MARC (Marketing Association Rehabilitation Centers). MARC works with several community rehabilitation programs, including many in Western North Carolina.

The tarp project has been in the works for around 16 months, according to Combs. He has an agreement with three companies, in Kentucky, Utah and Florida, who will use the tarps.

The additional revenue will be beneficial to Vocational Solutions in other parts of its services, Combs explained.

The money can be used for expanding life skills training and building upgrades and renovations. Currently, Vocational Solutions has about 36 adults in its day program, and eight to 10 in its vocational rehabilitation program.

Several contract jobs come into Vocational Solutions for many of the adults. Many are paired with partnering businesses in the community as well. An important focus is that the adult be able to do work they find enjoyable, Combs explained.

“Adults with disabilities should be able to work where and with what they want just like the rest of us,” he added.

Vocational Solutions offers several other job opportunities and services to the community. The nonprofit offers a wide variety of business printing and labor outsourcing solutions for local businesses. The Adult Developmental Vocational Program is also offered, along with direct care programs for disabled individuals.

For more information about Vocational Solutions or to make a donation, go to Vocsol.com

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