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2022 Annual Report

TECH Makes Their Mark

June 28, 2023

The Reno Occupational Center opened its doors in the Emerson Carey Building with 5 clients. We received approval from Vocational Rehabilitation as a service center and by the US Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division as a sheltered workshop. While the mission statement was not yet defined, our purpose was clear – to provide job training and work opportunities for young adults graduating from high school.

By 1985, we had more than 30 clients finding employment through TECH’s supported employment program, helping to fulfill contracts with Morton Salt, Hubco, Cook Manufacturing, Shield Agriculture, Dillons, and many more. Dillons is our longest running partnership and today, we are the only reclamation center in the state of Kansas for their stores and also process all of their plastics regionally.

Nathan Porter, Production Manager says, “For a lot of these clients, this is the highlight of their day. They work and they feel like an active member of society. They’re able to come out here and be productive and feel like they are a part of the Dillons family.”

The TECH Work Center has been a huge part of our story and continues to provide purpose for the people served by TECH.

Finding Purpose Through Work

Paul works in the TECH Work Center

Working has always been something that fulfilled Paul Isenberg, a long-time person served by TECH. When Paul was in high school, he worked in the Hutchinson High School cafeteria as well as Bonanza through the TECH Training Program until he graduated in May 1998.

Through TECH’s Supported Employment Services in the early 90’s, Paul was able to work at a variety of local businesses here in Hutchinson while also spending time at the TECH Work Center. His time at the Work Center allowed him to gain marketable job skills that he could apply when he was working in the community. Paul learned how to use the panel saw, the bench grinder and air drill press, becoming quite the expert at running each of these pieces of equipment.

As the contracts for the wood shop started to decrease, Paul began working in the plastic and aluminum can area along with filling any time working on contracts for Consolidated, Eaton, Dillons, and Hutch Bag.

“Paul is one of the most loving people I have ever met,” says Nathan Porter, Production Manager at TECH. “He has such a big heart and while he loves working with Rich in plastic, he is always willing to lend a hand wherever he might be needed.”