Adults at Southwest Enterprises get a chance to practice skills and build self-esteem by preparing for employment.
“As adults, we identify ourselves by our jobs. For adults with developmental disabilities, that is still true,” Debby Tunning of Southwest Enterprises said.
The organization is an adult vocational training service for those with developmental disabilities that developed before age 22. Most adults trained at Southwest Enterprises were born with their disability.
Formerly known as Tumbleweed, the training program became a part of Southwest Community Action Group or SOCAG in 1998. Since then the program has been funded by SOCAG and the Department of Human Services and contracts to local businesses for custodial, lawn care and maintenance, recycling and shredding services.
Adults get the chance to hone their wood crafting, sewing and sales skills.
They make the majority of the products sold at the Lemon Drop, a store attached to their training facility at 2208 Enterprise Drive in Altus, where the jewelry, miniature cotton bales, bags, blankets and wreaths made by the trainees are sold, along with items donated from other nonprofit organizations.
The store not only provides income for the group, but also provides another opportunity to learn about small businesses, sales, and customer service.
There are 15 adults employed and trained by Southwest Enterprises working around the community with the assistance of job coach.
“It’s a very rewarding job to work with them and watch them learn and progress,” Tunning said. “And I know it gives them a sense of identity and purpose to work and produce something they can be proud of.”
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.