Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 29, 2010

Progressive Careers focuses on assisting people with developmental disabilities

By KANDACE MCCOY

kandace.mccoy@register-news.com

WALTONVILLE — Assisting individuals with developmental disabilities as they go about their daily routine is the focus of a new facility opened by Progressing Housing.

The new day-training facility, Progressive Careers, is located at 414 North Hirons, and opened Nov. 30.

Two years ago, Progressive Housing began a carpet cleaning business for its clients as a way to become more independent. Due to lack of funding, the carpet cleaning business stopped. However, that venture inspired a new way to help clients — Progressive Careers.

“(Perfection Cleaning) worked out so well, that we decided to expand on the idea,” explained Ron Schroeder, CEO and board member of Progressive Housing. “When we looked out our clientele, what we found is that they didn’t enjoy the workshops in the area, so we did some demographics and thought maybe this would be a better way for them to enjoy their days and daily activities.”

During the workshops, clients would contract work in which they would sort pieces, such as bolts, into plastic bags, which were then placed into a case and loaded onto a pallet. The case would then be broken down and unpacked.

“We think that is more mind-numbing, than mind-expanding,” Schroeder said. “Our people have various capabilities and we think we can expand their horizons with Progressive Careers.”

Progressive Careers opened Nov. 30, and this is the first day-training facility for its parent company, according to Schroeder. Another facility is slated to open in Peoria in the fall of 2010. However, Schroeder says socialization is an important factor in clients’ therapy and every day activities, which he believes Progressive Careers will address.

“Socialization skills are the big thing and we like to socialize clients into the community and with each other,” he said. “Socialization is the key to behavior problems and being happy. Without it, it just doesn’t make their life fulfilling.”

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