The Grundy County Learning Center provides jobs for about ten developmentally disabled adults allowing them to earn a small wage.
The center, which has been located at 2600 Princeton Road since the year 2000, has six employees who guide the work being done. Director of the learning center, Ruth Ebersold, was the speaker at a meeting of the Trenton Rotary Club. She explained supported employment wages are paid for piece work – meaning specific types of projects that the Learning Center can perform for businesses.
Because of a new federal Home and Community-based services rule, financial changes have impacted the Grundy county learning center. One part of the federal rule states that all people with developmental disabilities should have jobs out in the community and receive at least the minimum wage.
Mrs. Ebersold told Rotarians that the learning center can not meet the requirement of all persons earning minimum wage.
Thus, the board of directors governing the learning center decided to become an independent business and forgo receiving any state or federal funds, reported as about $12 thousand dollars per month. The revenue loss is being covered by reserve funds as long as the money lasts.
Financial support also is being given by the tax-supported entity Families and Friends of the Developmentally Disabled. Mrs. Ebersold said the Association for Handicap Citizens board has developed a five-year plan intended to keep the facility running. But she also is hoping that a change will be made in the federal rule.