MANAWA, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News has learned an organization run by Waupaca County that helps to train the disabled and place them in jobs will shutdown at the end of the year. Employees and members of Waupaca County Industries learned about the closure this week.
For more than 30 years, Waupaca County Industries has helped to train and place those with physical and cognitive disabilities into the workplace. Its Manawa facility has been the gathering place as well as workshop for its members, too. But in the last few years the county has only been the service provider, sort of like a contractor, for an outside agency.
"We have a rate that we ask them to pay so that we can provide the services and then they send their numbers to us," says Chuck Price, Director of Waupaca County Health and Human Services.
Because of that shift, as of January 1st WCI will close and its members will work with their individual case managers to find programs and jobs in their own individual communities.
"It's something, at this point, the county just can't afford to stay in, and that's what makes it so hard at this point," adds Price.
Tiffany Dallman has worked through the WCI programs for more than two decades. She's just one of the close to 80 members that are left wondering what's next.
"Now I don't know what my future is going to come to," says Dallman. Adding, "It's pretty hard for me because a lot of people that I've been spending time with and my friends here."
While the county has been working for some time to find a solution to keep WCI open, potential deals have fallen through, leaving the county with no other choice but to close the facility.
Price says, "Hoping that we can have a smooth transition."
In addition to the members affected by the closure, about a dozen employees will also lose their jobs.