Opportunity for Work and Learning (OWL) was founded in 1961 in Lexington, KY with the goal of empowering individuals who were part of an often-forgotten population in the work force: those with mental and physical disabilities.
55 years later, OWL has expanded the range of those they serve. Peoples with other barriers to employment, such as re-entry citizens, are included in the population of those served. OWL assists them in leading a rich and full life through comprehensive programming and a wide range of supports. These programs are supported by their in-house manufacturing facility, the Lexington Manufacturing Center, which provides quality international manufacturing services for businesses.
Individuals participating in an OWL program gain work experience through employment at the Lexington Manufacturing Center. Participants have access to mock interviews, hands-on skills training, job placement and other resources necessary to achieve their vocational and personal goals.
Often, reaching independence as an equal in the workforce is among these goals. OWL seeks to help participants enjoy a higher standard of living through the financial stability of competitive employment.
One of this year’s participants was Jayne. Beforehand, Jayne was an unpaid volunteer working only two days a week. After participation in one of OWL’s programs, Jayne now has “responsibilities [she] never could have imagined” and is earning $10/hr, 29+ hr/week.
OWL has helped over 26,000 people like Jayne to gain employment, by partnering with communities to assist jobseekers in overcoming barriers. With a lengthy and rich history, one can rest assured that OWL’s commitment to serving the community will extend well into the future.
OWL is a founding member of the Kentucky chapter of SEA, which was developed two years ago. Membership has improved OWL’s programs by allowing the opportunity to connect with other organizations and people with similar goals in the SEA network– to improve livelihoods within their communities and maximize positive social impacts using business methods.
To learn more about Opportunity for Work & Learning (OWL), check out their member directory profile.