By Pam Ross
Special to the City Times
In 2015, Opportunity Development Centers, Inc. (ODC) and Community Industries Corporation (CIC) both celebrated 50 years of serving the needs of individuals with disabilities. On September 8th, they announced a partnership as the two organizations prepare to become one.
The planned merger of the organizations, scheduled to take place on January 1, 2017, will strengthen their ability to meet their mission, according to Pam Ross, ODC president, and Gary Cumley, chairperson of the CIC board of directors.
“This partnership makes perfect sense,” said Ross. “Our organizational missions align completely, and now we will join forces to create even more opportunities for the people we serve.”
ODC has locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield, and currently serves over 500 individuals with disabilities in Wood, Portage, Marathon, Lincoln, Taylor and Clark counties. CIC has locations in Stevens Point, Plover and Wausau, and serves approximately 150 individuals in Portage and Marathon counties. Both organizations provide skills training, career exploration, job search assistance, and long-term, on-the-job support for people with disabilities. They also offer day services programs that provide life skills education, volunteer opportunities and community exploration activities.
“Both CIC and ODC have been innovative in developing services over the years,” said Cumley. “With our combined experience and expertise, we see this as a win-win situation.”
After the merger, ODC’s name will remain the same, and services currently offered by CIC will continue to be provided under their name at this time. Services provided by both ODC and CIC will go uninterrupted during and after the merger.
“The staff and board of directors of both CIC and ODC are excited about this collaboration and the opportunities it will bring,” said Ross. “This alliance will combine our organizations’ strengths and resources to move us forward in our mission – to empower people with disabilities to achieve their work and life goals.”