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Being independent is when you actively pursue your dreams. Independence is empowering and it creates a powerful reputation. It can lead to financial freedom using the skills you’ve learned to develop. You are able to work and earn wages that allow you to provide for yourself to prepare for the future.

To no surprise, some of you may know or have heard about Randy… Randy has been an Emmaus client for 13 years. He is a genuine person with a kind soul, who always greets everyone he meets with a BIG smile and an upbeat attitude! Whether Randy has known you for years, or just a few minutes, he won’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, or simply learn more about who you are.

With each accomplishment, he never ceases to amaze his family, our team members, and members of the community. That’s why, when Randy was on the hunt for a new career, it was surprisingly challenging for him. He is great around people, willing to work full-time and go through training, but he was longing for a career path that he felt would suit him. He was wise to wait for just the right opportunity! “Randy wanted to get a job so he could be around people and learn new things. He also wanted to be able to earn his own money so he could make more choices on spending.” Catherine Pritchett, Randy’s Mother

Randy has a strong desire to help people. He enjoys volunteering and anything where he gets to interact with people. He also has a memory that is above all others. If he meets you once, he will never forget your name, and anything at all you talked about and even things you didn’t talk about but he “observed” while around you. If he has been somewhere once, he will always remember the way there, no matter how far.” Catherine Pritchett, Randy’s Mother

Randy’s search led him to the Skills Center in St. Peters, MO, a division of Boone Center, Inc. (BCI). Founded in 1959, BCI has a long history of providing meaningful employment for people with disabilities. Today, guided by its employment continuum model, BCI offers work and training opportunities for people of all ability levels. Organizational Programs provide jobs for people who want to work in contract packaging and light assembly. Community Programs provide supported jobs for people who want to work in fully integrated settings. But the newest addition to the continuum, the Skills Center, is what caught Randy’s interest. Opened in January, the Skills Center is a first-of-its-kind vocational training center for people with disabilities. Students get to choose the career path that is right for them. They also learn vital soft skills including appearance, attitude, teamwork, problem solving, and more.

We believe each of the students we serve at the Skills Center is capable of great things. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of them achieving small successes in their training program. Once they realize they can be successful and their confidence starts to build, that’s when they really take off.” Jeremy, BCI Skills Center Curriculum Manager

For Randy, this meant an 8-week Manufacturing program at the Skills Center grown out of a wonderful partnership between BCI and True Manufacturing in O’Fallon, MO. True worked closely with BCI to develop the curriculum and donated 100% of the equipment to create the replica work setting. Students in this program learn how to perform final preparation, inspection and cleaning of True’s commercial refrigeration units and, upon successful completion of this program, are directly hired.

Randy is a fast learner. Plus, he has a tremendous ability to retain information. As he was taught the processes, he mastered them quickly. Randy was a model student.” Jeremy, BCI Skills Center Curriculum Manager.

Randy was one of the five first students to complete the True program at the Skills Center. Randy starts his new career this week, and he is nothing but excited to start his new journey!

Randy wears his disabilities with pride. He knows what they are and is not embarrassed or afraid to talk about them. Because he is aware and understands how his body and mind work, learns and processes things, he is willing and able to take advantage of the best programs, people and opportunities for his personal growth. A great example of this is the Skills Center Training he recently became aware of at a conference he attended and then completed to prepare him for his new Job at True Manufacturing!” Catherine Pritchett, Randy’s Mother

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