For almost 50 years, ProWorks Inc. has provided valuable day services to Minnesota adults living with disabilities. For the last 30 years, ProWorks has counted the USDA as one of its partners.
ProWorks started as a pilot project in 1962 in the basement of an old school building in West Central Minnesota. About 30 years ago, ProWorks used a USDA Rural Development loan to build its current facility in Litchfield, Minn. ProWorks also has a facility in nearby Dassel.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited ProWorks to award a $14,000 grant that helped purchase two new forklifts. The forklifts will move work product and improve the health and safety of the 85 clients that use ProWorks services.
“Organizations like ProWorks are essential in building strong rural communities,” Landkamer said. “Everybody living in rural Minnesota deserves the opportunity to expand their skills and building a better world. Proworks provides those opportunities to people living with developmental disabilities and related conditions.”
The grant comes from Rural Development’s community facilities program. ProWorks also secured a loan using funds made available through a Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program award administered by the Meeker County Development Corporation.
“USDA staff really went beyond to find us all the funding necessary for this project,” said Dale Miller, ProWorks Director. “In order to provide work opportunities to persons who live with limitation, we need the proper tools. These forklifts ensure that ProWorks personnel will be able to safely move work product.”
Clients at ProWorks work on several projects for area businesses. Jobs include bolt and nut assembly for snowmobiles and 4-wheelers, document shredding, clock assembly, cleaning local businesses and assisting in the facility’s kitchen. Clients also develop computer skills and participate in community activities.
Organizations like ProWorks make our rural communities more sustainable and better places to live, work and raise a family. ProWorks also ensures that everyone living in a rural community has an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to contribute to the local economy.
The USDA is proud of its partnership with ProWorks, and looks forward to several more years of partnering.