It’s VTDCs’ “45th Anniversary”! It all started over forty five years ago, when a small group of families from Venango County came together to create a day program that would provide their children with disabilities meaningful activities, where they could learn different skills. In 1968, the operation known as “Venango Diagnostics Center” was moved to Rouseville School. This was where individuals with disabilities had the first opportunity to work on subcontract work and earn a pay check, while in vocational training. From there, on January 23, 1973, the Venango Training & Development Center, Inc. (VTDC) was incorporated as a 501 C 3 non-profit and 22 trainees were provided with programs that taught them daily living skills at a small facility in Rocky Grove. In 1980, serving 60 individuals, VTDC moved to our current location at 239 Quaker Drive, in Seneca and as they say “the rest is history”.
Since that time VTDC has increased not only the types of programs available to persons with disabilities, but has expanded to include providing services to the disadvantaged population as well, expanding our “foot print” throughout seven counties in northwest Pennsylvania. Those counties include Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Forest, Jefferson, Venango and Warren Counties. Boasting programs of excellence over the years, VTDC has been fortunate to be nominated and awarded the “Outstanding Rehabilitation Agency Award” by the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Agencies four times since 1993 and received the first “Partner of the Year” award from the NW PA Workforce Investment Board in 2008. Today, through a dedicated 14 member Board of Directors and over 112 professional and hourly staff, VTDC is serving thousands of disabled and disadvantaged individuals through Production Centers, Adult Training Facilities, Home & Community Habilitation Programs, Supported Employment Programs, Mental Health Fairweather Lodge and Training Lodge Programs, Workforce Investment Act Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Programs and a Mental Health Drop In Center. VTDC has also created a network of over 200 community partners throughout the region. With the support of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program funds, those partners are working together to support programs and services that help youth become the trained pipeline our employers need.
Over the years, VTDC has also become a premier “Contract Packager” and “Commercial Janitorial and Lawn Care Service” throughout the region. Through these business services, VTDC provides employment for both the individuals in their pre-vocational training programs and the community at large. Working with over 100 businesses, through subcontract work and placing people in employment, VTDC works hard to promote economic development and progress in our communities.
To insure customer satisfaction and quality, VTDC developed and implemented a detailed “Quality Management Strategy” for our Office of Developmental Community Participation Services, Mental Health Services and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Employment and Pre-Employment Transitional Services. Through this strategy we collect performance data through customer and staff surveys, internal and state tracking tools and state and county license and monitoring visits. This information is utilized to help both the Board of Directors and staff to focus our energies towards continual improvement of our programs and operations.
Over the years VTDC has seen growth, met the ever changing challenges and continues to persevere to meet the training requirements of those we serve. Through all of our programs, VTDC creates both employment and community integrated programs that help people to reach their highest potential. VTDC is committed to developing employment opportunities. We still believe that “if the individuals we serve have a will to work, we will find a way for them to work.” The Board and staff of VTDC are doing just that and look forward to ongoing success in the upcoming years.
This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.