Opportunity, according to the dictionary is defined as a good chance for advancement or progress. This is most definitely the key theme behind the expansion of the Webster Enterprises sewing operations.
A year ago Webster Enterprises began sewing cloth face masks for another community rehabilitation program, Industrial Opportunities, in Andrews. The operation began on a very small scale but was a strategic move for Webster Enterprises. It was at this same time the Home Tech Corporation was making a move to Sylva. Home Tech is a custom sewing manufacturer of bedding.
Recognizing this opportunity for job training with the possibility of nearby employment at Home Tech, Gene Robinson, the president of Webster Enterprises decided to expand their sewing operation. With the assistance of the Evergreen Foundation, Webster Enterprises has been able to renovate the building that houses their sewing operation and expand from their original two sewing machines to ten.
Not only was vocational training a goal for the expansion, the increase in their sewing operation also created an opportunity for other individuals to gain meaningful employment. Mary (not her real name) had just been released from prison and was living in a halfway house. Because she also had a disability, she was referred to Webster Enterprises by the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for employment training. For Mary, the sewing job was a good fit and it turned into a permanent job for her.
“I am now responsible for me, because Webster Enterprises allowed me to be. The self-worth is priceless,” shared Mary.
Don Kinney, injured when a tree fell and crushed his arm, was also able to take advantage of this opportunity. Prior to his injury he had been an electrician. After his injury he could no longer use his left hand and was unable to continue in his former line of work. He also came to Webster Enterprises for training. Capitalizing on Don’s mechanical expertise, Don became a handyman in the new sewing department. He does everything from working on machines to electrical work.
“With Webster Enterprise giving me this opportunity, I no longer have to sit home,” explained Kinney. “It is good therapy being able to work and help others.”
Not only has the expansion created opportunities for these two individuals, ten additional positions have been created at Webster Enterprises. Robinson expects that number to double in the next year as they expand and diversify products.
“We are grateful that the Evergreen Foundation provided the funds to renovate the building that houses our sewing operation. It has allowed us to expand and employ a number of people. Through our training program two individuals were also able to be hired at Home Tech”, commented Robinson. “There is a lot of opportunity to expand our sewing contracts and this will enable us to grow and provide both training and jobs in the future.”
To learn more about employment and training opportunities at Webster Enterprises visit their website at www.websterenterprises.com.
The mission of the Evergreen Foundation is to improve access to and public awareness of quality prevention, treatment, and support services by the provider community to individuals and families with intellectual/developmental disabilities, behavioral health, and/or substance abuse needs in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. To learn more about the Foundation call 828-456-8005.