The Resource Center (TRC) hosted an open house Monday as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
TRC held its open house on Chestnut Street in Dun-kirk to educate case workers on the type of work that is done at the facility.
Local disability employment agencies were invited to come and learn how TRC is providing work to Western New Yorkers with disabling conditions and helping the local economy by keeping lucrative contacts in this area.
OBSERVER Photos by Nicole Gugino
A pouch that workers at The Resource Center’s Allied Industries Facility make for the Army and Marine Corps.
TRC's Allied Industries performs work for the U.S. government at manufacturing facilities in Buffalo, Dunkirk and Jamestown, through the federal AbilityOne Program.
Most of this work is done on commercial sewing machines, making items used by American troops overseas. During a tour, workers were making pouches for foxhole shovels for the Army and Marine Corps.
The process had many steps along the assembly line, requiring different skills.
Each pouch was made to military engineered standards and included work on the assembly of straps and different components of the pouch to prevent wear.
Many different steps included marking the fabric, cutting, sewing and inspection as well as attaching the closures.
Allied Industries manufactures more than 100 items for the federal government, including these type of pouches and individual first aid kits, and annually ships more than $45 million in products to the government.
Tour guide and Production Manager Russ Beyer said the workers produce between 400 to 600 pouches per day.
The Resource Center also held the open house because it has received some new contracts and will be hiring additional people with disabilities to perform this work.
Several local agencies attended the open house including Chautauqua Works and Claddagh Commission as well as several others. Their main questions were on transportation and job training.
Allied Industries Director of Business Gregory Bender said transportation is the biggest issue they face; however, the problem is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
As for job training, Bender explained that each individual receives a job coach and it really depends on the individual how fast or slow they pick up on the job.
They said their main objective of the day was to set up a pipeline of workers to fill the job vacancies they have and to educate those who arrange employment for those with disabilities about what it is they do in the facility.
The Resource Center has been providing employment and work training opportunities for people with disabilities for 50 years, and has been performing work for the federal government since 1978.