By Roz Kohls
ProWorks in Dassel is having a picnic shelter built in its wildflower garden in the back of the facility in Red Rooster Industrial Park.
Dale Miller, executive director of ProWorks, told the Cokato Dassel Rotary about the project Oct. 25 at its meeting at Daniel’s Family Restaurant of Cokato.
Miller, who lives in Eden Valley, brought along plans for the four-picnic table shelter to show what ProWorks is planning, and maybe get help with funding from the Rotary.
ProWorks is a private, nonprofit organization which has been providing services to individuals with developmental disabilities in Meeker County since 1975.
“ProWorks provides a community based adult day training and habilitation program; which is based upon the premise that every person possesses an inherent capacity to achieve some level of independence,” according to the ProWorks mission statement.
Miller started with ProWorks in 1981, when its headquarters were in a basement of a school in Litchfield.
“There are so many rewards being part of this,” Miller said.
ProWorks’ clients are either developmentally challenged, have brain injuries or have a mental illness. Some are low functioning and mainly use ProWorks’ day care.
Some of ProWorks clients are very capable. Often, their employers in the community are amazed at the productivity of ProWorks’ clients, Miller said.
ProWorks’ clients are referred by a county within 30 miles from Litchfield, so some come from Wright and McLeod counties. as well as Meeker County.
ProWorks started placing clients in Dassel 12 years ago at American Time and Signal, ATS. Some of those original clients still work there, Miller said.
In addition to clock assembly at ATS, other community-based employment includes child care, custodial services, inventory control and window washing.
ProWorks moved into the 140-foot by 560-foot building, across the street from ATS, in 2003, he said.
This year, ProWorks clients have been doing “interesting work” at Fulfillment Systems Inc., next door. Clients fold returned clothing for repackaging. What’s unusual about the clothes is how large the sizes are. Some are 6X in size, Miller said.
Most businesses who hire ProWorks’ clients like the temporary nature of the work. However, some of the work is long-term. Some ProWorks clients at ATS earn more than some ProWorks staff members do, Miller added.
ProWorks’ primary goal is to place people in the community. However,
If you are interested in contributing to the picnic shelter project, or employing ProWorks’ clients, here is some contact information:
• ProWorks Inc., 427 E. 10th St. Litchfield, MN 55355. (320) 593-6257, (320) 593-7250.
• ProWorks Red Rooster Site, 135 3rd St. S., Dassel, MN 55325. (320) 275-5222.
• Fax. (320) 593-2171
• Web site: www.proworks-mn.com
• E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org