Opportunity Development Centers, Inc. (ODC) is a private, not-for-profit agency whose mission is “to empower people with disabilities to achieve their work and life goals”. ODC was founded in 1965 and serves individuals in central and northeast Wisconsin. The organization is governed by a 12 to 18-member volunteer board of directors; day-to-day operations are directed by agency President Pam Ross, who oversees approximately 170 full and part-time staff members that deliver the agency’s services.
On January 1, 2017, ODC merged with Community Industries Corporation (CIC), which also recently celebrated 50 years of serving individuals with disabilities. The combined organization, whose legal name is ODC, now includes physical locations in Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Stevens Point, Plover and Wausau. Service areas include Wood, Portage, Marathon, Taylor, Lincoln, Clark, Langlade and Adams counties. Services formerly offered by CIC will continue to be provided under that name for the present time.
ODC’s services are driven by its vision: “communities strengthened and enriched by the abilities and contributions of all members”. The agency provided both center-based and community-based services that assisted 527 individuals in 2015. All services are person-centered and individualized to focus on each person’s goals and desired outcomes.
ODC’s new approach to services, called CommunityLife, assists individuals in achieving their goals in both work and life. CommunityConnect, one component of CommunityLife, offers staff-supported community activities that explore a person’s interests and skills, build independence and confidence in accessing the community, and connect individuals to opportunities for community engagement and participation. CareerConnect, another CommunityLife component, helps individuals identify community career opportunities that are personalized to their interests and strengths, and assists them in obtaining and maintaining community employment.
ODC’s Center-Based Prevocational Training offerings in Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield provide a variety of work and training opportunities along with the level of support each individual needs to perform their job. Services focus on building solid work habits and skills, with the optimal goal/outcome of integrated employment in the community. ODC’s Day Services provide life skills training and introduce individuals to community activities that allow them to explore their areas of interest.
ODC’s industrial operations serve two major purposes: to provide work and training for people with disabilities, and to provide vital operating revenue for the agency. ODC performs a wide array of subcontract services for local, regional and national businesses and organizations.
ODC’s 2015 annual revenue totaled $9,373,044 with $5,284,767 from contract and other sales, and $3,536,549 from vocational services funded by Family Care, DVR and other agencies. Grants, donations, distributions from endowed funds and net proceeds from fundraising events accounted for an additional $550,783 in revenue to support programming needs.
ODC generates additional support dollars through annual appeals, distributions from endowed funds, grants, donations, fundraising events and planned giving efforts. The United Way of Portage County also supports ODC's Portage County services. A 10-member volunteer Trust Committee, appointed by the board of directors, authorizes expenditures of donated funds and helps to promote philanthropy toward ODC.