New building to help Opportunity Center find jobs for disabled adults | News
Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson today joined local officials to announce $500,000 in state funding for the construction of a new building for the Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center.
The center is a nonprofit offering vocational evaluation and training to adults with disabilities in Muhlenberg and Hopkins counties. The expansion will help create 25 additional jobs at the center.
“The Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center plays a crucial role in the lives of individuals unable to find competitive employment by providing long-term employment,” Lt. Gov. Abramson said. “We are proud to fund the expansion and help residents in these communities find employment through the center.”
The center trains and rehabilitates individuals with disabilities and prepares them for real jobs in competitive employment. The center provides long-term employment through small parts assembly work for individuals unable to reach competitive employment.
The center has contracts with various local manufacturing firms that include Hunter Douglas in Owensboro and Pop Fasteners in Hopkinsville. Companies most recently added are Plastic Products Company Inc. and Dyno Nobel Inc., both in Muhlenberg County.
The center also has an onsite discount grocery and thrift/clothing stores.
The new 9,700-square-foot building will be Americans With Disabilities-accessible and will house another production area, offices, a dining room and an area for rehabilitation. “The Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center is a vital resource to the business community,” said Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder. “This partnership provides long-term meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities while efficiently serving the manufacturing needs of local industries. This is a mutually beneficial partnership between Muhlenberg County, the Opportunity Center clients and the local business community. We are proud to be a part of expanding the level of services offered by the Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center.”
Wilder said the $500,000 funding comes from the state’s Community Development Block Grant program. The new building will cost $1 million in federal and state matching funds.
“It’s been four years since we started planning for this day,” said Chuck Bridges, executive director of the Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center. “Our new building will replace one that’s been in service for over 40 years and will give our clients a much nicer environment to work in. We also hope that it will help us bring in additional projects and work for our clients.”
“The Muhlenberg Opportunity Center is a win-win for Muhlenberg and Hopkins counties,” said Jerry Rhoads, of Madisonville. “By preparing people with disabilities for real jobs, these individuals have the opportunity to be more productive, more self sufficient and …more empowered. This is good for the individuals, for their families, the community and the employers. Everyone wins.”