On Tuesday, April 3 Kent-Sussex Industries, Inc. (KSI) celebrated 50 years of providing employment to individuals with disabilities with their annual open house event. Members of the Milford community and surrounding area had the opportunity to tour the facility located on Rehoboth Boulevard. With a record number of visitors in attendance on Tuesday, KSI proudly showed off their employees as they continued to work through another productive day.
KSI is a not for profit vocational rehabilitation organization which serves the residents of Kent and Sussex Counties with a focus on creating employment opportunities to those with disabilities. This organization has spent the past 50 years serving the needs of disabled individuals but also those of the business community. For each individual, KSI provides encouragement and confidence through vocational rehabilitation, job development, and training. For the business community KSI has provided contract labor services since 1977. They currently have several work crews under contract, working with familiar businesses such as Arrow Safety, Coastal Brewery, Decal Girl, Dentsply Caulk, Milford Lions Club, Mohawk Electric and Perdue.
“The best thing about being a part of this place is seeing the pride and satisfaction in what each individual feels,” commented Director of Community Relations Alicia Hollis. “We advocate for the person, helping them to meet their goals and objectives which carries over and allows those individuals to realize they can advocate for themselves.”
With approximately 300 individuals being employed by, or with the help of, KSI there is a myriad of employment opportunities based on the needs of each business and the ability of each person. KSI offers three employment programs. The first is on-site employment that is heavily supervised to ensure the education and safety of each individual. Activities provide for group and individual instruction in areas such as direction following, attention to task, sequencing, social interaction, and job readiness skills. The second type, community-based work service programs, offers a chance for employees to work in small groups in the community under KSI supervision. The third program, which offers the most independence, is the supported employment program where individuals become employees of the location where they work. KSI will supervise the progress of each employee to help get them acclimated with the job and also ensure longevity as time passes.
During 2011 KSI provided approximately 113,500 trips for disabled employees across the State of Delaware. According to KSI this service saved the State of of Delaware $4.3 million in transportation costs in 2011 while providing transportation during service hours that occur outside of the State’s service hours. KSI is determined to keep their services available for disabled individuals and are looking for support from the State of Delaware for KSI Transportation Services provided to consumers deemed eligible for services by State agencies.
“KSI is about more than just employment,” commented Ms. Hollis. “So much more happens to enrich the lives of each individual.”