“The mission of PACE Enterprises is to help people with disabilities obtain meaningful employment. A person with a disability comes to PACE and is evaluated and counseled to determine talents and career goals. Then, training is provided to polish the individual’s unique talents and overcome shortcomings. Finally, the person is either introduced to a local employer or is employed in one of PACE’s business endeavors.”
West Virginia leads the nation in citizens with disabilities; about one in four. On the other hand, Mountaineers with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate. In Morgantown, a concerned organization is doing something about unemployment and disability.
PACE Enterprises is a nonprofit, community-led organization that provides prevocational and vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, without regard to race, color, or national origin, throughout north-central West Virginia.
How people with disabilities are helped finding jobs:
- Potential jobholders are given aptitude tests to determine what careers might best suit the individual’s talents and interests.
- Following evaluation, a personalized training plan is developed to teach skills necessary for workplace success.
- Supported Employment
- Individuals work for local employers with the help of job coaches to make sure success is accomplished.
- Competitive Employment
After polishing their talents at PACE, some workers move into positions in the local workforce, either at PACE or with local employers.
Clients began receiving services in 1972. The organization was originally called PACE TEC. At that time, a group of dedicated parents founded the program because they recognized the special supports their sons and daughters would need to succeed as young adults. Since then, PACE has made the difference in the lives of many individuals who live with a disability.
PACE Enterprises is licensed by the State of West Virginia as a Community Rehabilitation Program and a 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 event.