Mount Rogers Community Services Board (MRCSB) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. We are providing information about the many aspects of our services over the next few months. This month we’re highlighting the Industrial Developmental Centers (IDC).
Ashley Barrientos and Brenda Thomas talk proudly about their work at the Twin County/Galax IDC and the opportunities having employment has brought to them.
Brenda says that the Twin County/Galax IDC is a good place to work. She has been here 3 years. Ashley has been at the IDC for 2 years. Both like the flexible hours, which help them attend to family and other non-work related issues. But there is much more than that.
Brenda has gone from being dependent on family to becoming independent. Today she is renting her own house and through assistance from Carroll County Department of Social Services, she has her own car to drive to work.
Ashley has gained self-confidence and has worked through her past patterns of poor decision-making and “getting mixed up with the wrong crowd.” She has a degree in accounting and hopes someday to pursue her dream of bookkeeping. She has her own apartment. When not working, Ashley enjoys caring for her 2 young children and drawing in her spare time.
Unique Services… The Only Ones Licensed by DBHD!
Located at 494 Industrial Park Drive, Hillsville, the Twin County/Galax Industrial Developmental Center (IDC) serves the counties of Carroll & Grayson and the City of Galax. It is one of three IDCs operated by MRCSB. (The Wythe/Bland IDC serves the counties of Wythe & Bland; the Smyth IDC serves the county of Smyth.) Southwest Virginia is most fortunate to have such services. MRCSB is the only Community Services Board in Virginia to provide manufacturing, employment and day support services to persons with disabilities.
In fact, these comprehensive programs offered at the Twin County/Galax IDC, as well as the Wythe/Bland & Smyth IDCs, are the only ones licensed under the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services.
Since its inception, the Twin County/Galax IDC has achieved the necessary accreditation/licensure requirements and met all regulatory standards associated with the provision of rehabilitation services, the manufacture of products, and the provision of contract labor. Along with the prestigious CARF accreditation (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), the IDC also has ISO 9001:2008 registration, and the Federal Drug Administration certification. Annual audits of the Day Support Program are conducted by the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance.
The MRCSB Industrial Developmental Centers (IDCs) are under the directorship of Frank Dowell, a Grayson County resident. Joan Harmon, a Carroll County resident, serves as the Director of Employment & Day Support. Martin Slate, a Carroll County resident, is the facility manager at the Twin County IDC, overseeing the daily operations. There are 142 individuals receiving services (130 of whom are receiving employment services), 46 staff members, 13 hourly wage employees, and one contractual employee at the Twin County/Galax IDC.
October happens to be National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The 2012 theme, ‘A Strong Workforce Is an Inclusive Workforce,’ promotes the benefits of a diverse workforce. That includes workers with disabilities, who represent a highly skilled talent pool. The theme is reflected in the integrated work setting for production at Twin County/Galax IDC. Those receiving employment services work right alongside those hired on an hourly basis.
In addition to contracts with local businesses and industries, the Twin County IDC has been a member of the AbilityOne Program since 1986. The AbilityOne Program is a federal initiative to support people who are blind or have other severe disabilities. It helps them find employment working for nonprofit agencies that sell products and/or services to the U.S. Government.
The IDC has been successful in acquiring contracts to manufacture products for both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy through the federal government’s NISH program (National Institute for the Severely Handicapped). Partnerships have also been successfully forged with local businesses. The IDC itself manufactures custom-design tote bags in all price ranges, golf towels, golf ball bags, and other custom products, along with offering multi-color screen printing. The photos here show examples of the golf towel and golf ball bag.
As an AbilityOne producer, the IDC has manufactured an impressive assortment of useful products for the military. High-volume military items include helmet covers, personal effects bags, men’s cotton handkerchiefs, a sleeping shirt, an advanced combat shirt, and cleaning cloths for the U.S. Navy.
Through the IDC’s job placement service, support is provided to persons with disabilities to help them obtain and maintain employment in the community. Individuals work full or part-time in a variety of positions, including food service, stocking, and janitorial services.
Day Support Services
In addition to employment, the IDC provides Day Support services. These services provide opportunities to acquire, improve and/or maintain skills and abilities in areas of personal care, communication, social interaction, community participation and other areas of daily living.
Many of the day activities include outings. There are opportunities to participate in a variety of activities. Weekly visits to local nursing homes offer entertainment for the residents and bingo and fun for everyone. Some love to volunteer at a food pantry project. And activities like picnics in the park, walking at the recreation center, or enjoying games or the weekly music activities are readily available.
Another long-term service, the Prevocational Program provides training in skills aimed towards preparing individuals for successful employment. General training areas include attention to task, acceptance of supervision, task completion, and various other practical, basic employment preparation skills and activities.
Engaging the Creative Spirit
The three IDCs put on an annual spring dance. Over 200 folks gather at the VFW in Hillsville to enjoy music, dancing, socializing and lunch. The IDCs participate in the yearly talent shows held at Chautauqua Festival in Wytheville, the Rex Theatre in Galax, and the Lincoln Theatre in Marion. The Twin County IDC folks perform on the stage of the Rex Theatre.
To learn more: www.mtrogersidc.com. For further information about the Twin County/Galax IDC employment services, call 276-728-2106 or 2876-236-8128.
In 1968, the Code of Virginia authorized the establishment of Community Services Boards. Mount Rogers Community Services Board (MRCSB) was established in 1972 and is one of 40 Community Services Boards throughout Virginia. The CSB’s work in partnership with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, advances the concepts of recovery and the importance of accessible, community-based care.
Mount Rogers Community Services Board provides a comprehensive array of mental health, intellectual and developmental services and substance abuse services to the citizens of Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, and Wythe Counties and the City of Galax. Funding for services comes from various sources, including State General Funds, local governments, Federal funds, Medicaid and commercial health insurance, grants, fees and contract sales. The Board of Supervisors from each county appoints members to the MRCSB Board of Directors. Current appointees from Carroll & Grayson Counties and the City of Galax: Carroll County - Lindsay Honeycutt, Kevin Campbell, Mava Vass; Grayson County - Carolyn Davis, Sandra Troth; City of Galax - Tim Lewis.
MRCSB is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental, developmental, and substance use intervention needs. Visit our website, www.mtrogerscsb.com, or call 276-223-3200 to learn more.