As the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center (JRC) celebrates its 60th anniversary, it's trying something new.
Traditionally, JRC's clients - largely people who have developmental disabilities - have been employed at the JRC's own workshop, Production Unlimited, based in Watertown. In Production Unlimited, most of the employees have disabilities.
But in early June, JRC purchased the UPS franchise on Route 11 in the Town of LeRay. (It's across from the Walmart, just north of Watertown.) And by the end of August, people with disabilities - three or four - will work alongside other employees.
"We're pushing more and more into the community and less and less with our, what they call, 'segregated settings' such as the workshop," said Howie Ganter, JRC's executive director.
JRC officials said the expect clients will learn a lot from their jobs at UPS.
"They're getting public communication skills, public presentation skills, actual work skills. They're trying to work in a fast paced environment," said Deborah Vink, JRC's director of vocational services.
Despite the changes behind the counter, customers shouldn't see much difference.
"It's just business as usual. It's all just about service," said Bob Frisina, the store manager.
JRC is one of only three not-for-profits in the entire country to own a UPS store franchise.
Saturday, October 10, 2015, Watertown, NY
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