Since 1949, the Work Training Center, Inc. (WTC) headquartered in Chico, CA, has been helping people with developmental disabilities improve their lives through independent work projects and leisure activities.
Over the decades the organization grew from a volunteer staff of one working with four people to a thriving business with more than 300 employees serving the needs of hundreds of people throughout Butte County.
The secret to the success of the WTC isn’t just the compassionate dedication of the individuals on staff; it’s the remarkable quality of the products they manufacture and the competitive edge they give their industry customers, including those centered around wine.
“We make screen printed wine totes and presentation wine boxes in our wood shop,” explains Liz Coon, Customer Relations Manager at WTC. “We provide standardized wine boxes or Cadillac style; single, double or triple boxes that are upscale and very high end.”
Feather River Industries and Deer Creek Sewing, the names of the businesses operating as for-profit under the WTC umbrella, also make canvas totes, bird boxes, agricultural crates, soap dishes and jewelry display trees, among other items. Revenues from these divisions help fund the programs for their clients.
Each is a full-service company, with the ability to give their customers a completed project from concept to design to execution. The craftsmanship of the merchandise is stunning, especially given the fact that adults with developmental disabilities do a great share of the work.
“Each of the individuals is certified on all of our machines,” declares Dillon Bedford, Division Manager of Manufacturing at WTC. “Planers, saws, routers, nail guns, sanders … supervisors are inspecting the work every step of the way. In fact, our customers are getting even better products because of the amount of oversight that has to take place.”
In recent years the federal government has reduced support for programs like WTC that assist the developmentally disabled, mandating that a certain level of community-based programming be part of their operating paradigm.
“Our manufacturing divisions are trying to operate as a for-profit business and use the funds we generate to replace what has been lost,” notes Coon. “The money we generate goes right back into the non-profit organization.”
Bedford agrees, but emphasizes that Feather River Industries and Deer Creek Sewing are serious, competitive businesses.
“This isn’t about poor us – we want to focus on what we can do,” Bedford insists. “We can generate a competitive pricing quote with a full CAD drawing for our customers within 24 hours.”
Bedford and Coon announced that the Work Training Center, Inc. will have a booth at the upcoming Wine and Weed Symposium at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Rosa on August 8. They will have an item from their new line of hemp products, wooden boxes, and wine totes on display at the show.
For more information and orders go to: https://wtcinc.org.