West Virginia leads the nation in citizens with disabilities; about one in four. Mountaineers with disabilities have the highest rate of unemployment. In Morgantown, Fairmont, Grafton and Charleston, PACE Enterprises is trying to help individuals who have disabilities find great, supportive jobs.
PACE Enterprises, originally named PACE TEC and founded by a group of parents that recognized the special support their sons and daughters would need to succeed as young adults, is a non-profit, community-led organization that provides pre-vocational and vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, without regard to race, color, or national origin, throughout North Central West Virginia since 1972.
PACE Enterprises is licensed by the State of West Virginia as a Community Rehabilitation Program and Behavioral Mental Health Center. Clients are adults who have a documented disability and who are interested in joining the local workforce. Disabilities range in severity level and type but include intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), sensory, medical, physical, and/or emotional. Individuals may have a disability from birth or have acquired the disability through an accident, medical problem, or other life-changing events.
PACE has a reputation for exceeding customer expectations and forging long-term customer relationships. Today, a growing number of businesses and government agencies look to PACE for:
- Commercial Contract Services
- Custodial Services
- Grounds Maintenance
- Document Shredding and Media Destruction
- Contract Closeout
- Light Production and Assembly Services
- Bulk Mailing
- Food Service
A PACE employee mowing grass for a Morgantown commercial customer
The mission of PACE Enterprises is to help individuals with disabilities obtain meaningful employment. When an individual with a disability comes to PACE, they are evaluated and counseled to determine their skills and career goals. Then, training is provided to polish the individual’s talents and overcome shortcomings. Finally, the individual is either introduced to a local employer with whom we have forged a long-term relationship with or is employed in one of PACE’s business endeavors.
Beehive staff preparing for a delivery.
How people with disabilities are helped to find jobs:
Evaluation: Potential jobholders are given aptitude tests to determine what careers might best suit the individual’s talents and interests.
Training: Following an evaluation, a personalized training plan is developed to teach skills necessary for workplace success.
Employment: Individuals work for local employers with the help of job coaches to make sure success is accomplished.