|The Village General Store, Fort Dodge, was honored for superior service in helping individuals with disabilities obtain employment skills to reach their vocational goals.
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) lauded the Village General Store with flowers, balloons and a plaque at the agency's holiday open house.
"Thank you for the wonderful things you're doing for the community and job seekers," said Mary Augustus, Rehabilitation Supervisor.
Lori Kolbeck, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, said the Village General Store takes trainees and volunteers whatever their abilities.
The store provides a first step in the workforce, helping individuals develop skills in a safe environment to get them ready for the workplace, Augustus said.
The store and IVRS partnering together is a win-win situation, said John Severtson, Opportunity Village Chief Executive Officer.
While developing such skills as cashiering, sorting inventory and customer service, the trainees provide the store with a workforce, said Lisa Tapper, the store's Supported Employment Coordinator.
Trainees gain experience and a job reference at the Village General Store that they can then use to get a job in the community.
The local IVRS office placed 61 people successfully last year, Augustus said. Currently they are working with about 360 job seekers.
The Village General Store, 12 N. 25th St., Fort Dodge, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. Proceeds from the store provide needed revenue for Opportunity Village services to local people with disabilities.
Mary Augustus, right, IVRS Rehabilitation Supervisor, presents a certificate of appreciation to Ivy Carnelley, Village General Store Manager; Lisa Tapper, Supported Employment Coordinator; and John Severtson, Opportunity Village Chief Executive Officer.