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DWI Celebrates over 50 Years as a Non-Profit

Develop. Worth. Independence.

Published in the March 2023 Issue Published online: Mar 08, 2023 Business
Viewed 1054 time(s)


By: Glen Guzman

What began as a group of parents who desired something better for their children with disabilities recently celebrated over 50 years as a non-profit agency serving East Idaho.

DWI is a non-profit agency that was created to be a community rehabilitation program that offers assistance in securing employment to individuals with disabilities or to those who are disadvantaged.

To reach their chosen level of economic and social independence, children and adults who have a disability or who are disadvantaged, participate in both life and vocational programs through DWI. These programs can be found in Idaho Falls, Rexburg, and Salmon. Thousands of individuals have succeeded in finding and maintaining employment throughout the greater community or within a DWI vocational program.

In 2023, what has been known as Development Workshop Inc. for the last 50 years, will be rebranded to do business as DWI. This will have a dedicated focus to the mission and to distance our brand from the sometimes-negative stigma of being a “Developmental” agency or just being a “Workshop.” To be known as DWI, we are emphasizing the terms; Develop, which is to grow or have cause to grow; Worth, which is to be treated equal in value to others; and Independence, which provides freedom from outside control or support.

DWI is an asset to our local businesses providing solutions to familiar challenges such as finding good employees.

DWI was one of the pioneers in Idaho in establishing Community Supported Employment (CSE). With our experienced staff, we match employers' needs with the best applicants with an intended result of employers gaining a satisfied, trained employee, committed to providing a quality product or service that is unrivaled. To support the individual, we pair them with a job coach who assists them to learn their roles and responsibilities. Support needed on the job is based on the individual's and employer’s needs. In 2022, 4 individuals determined they met their chosen level of independence and graduated from the program.

An additional business solution is custodial or maintenance services. DWI has partners as large as the Department of Energy to as small as the YMCA. Our staff made up of those with disabilities cleans an estimated 995,000 sq. ft. daily throughout Eastern Idaho.

The Manufacturing and Production Department at DWI provides individuals with severe disabilities an opportunity to enhance their vocational skills in a paid work environment while meeting the needs of government and commercial contract demands. Our current contract abilities are plastic molding, sewing, packaging and assembly. All individuals are paid at no less than minimum wage and have a goal to obtain greater community employment when desired. We are continually seeking new opportunities locally and nationally.

The success of our vision requires educating the younger generation of future teachers, employees, business owners, and employers on the importance of “having a society that values the ability and potential of all people to live, work, and play.”

For more information on DWI, visit www.dwinc.org.

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