Centerforce is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) Community Rehabilitation agency that connects people with disabilities (clients) to their communities through work. Executive Director Debby Graham, dedicated staff, and an energetic Board of Directors, have given hope to dozens of adults and teens. The agency has placed these adults and teens into productive jobs with local and regional employers, including Albertson’s, RAM Restaurants, Amazon, Pen Met Parks, Jones’ Seasoning Blends, and Concordia Lutheran School, among others. Last year 319 clients gained jobs or work experience through the organization’s innovative programs.
Centerforce also maintains a small assembly and production shop at its AIM Mail Center in Lakewood to fulfill production jobs for businesses around the county. Services include shrink wrapping, heat sealing, assembly, packaging, and shipping, as well as delivery and pick up. The Mail Center itself employs five clients that provide high quality shipping and postal services to retail and business customers.
The organization also provides full service lawn care and janitorial services. A select, small group of clients under Centerforce supervision has developed a satisfied list of business and residential customers on both sides of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Centerforce is a fully insured, certified service-provider, and its professional staff supervise, train, and assist the 34 clients as they perform their work.
The entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t end there. Centerforce provides interested clients the opportunity to learn culinary skills in its food truck and in the newly constructed commercial kitchen. Designed by Bargreen Ellingson Restaurant Supplies, Inc., with equipment donated by the Boeing Employees Community Fund, the commercial kitchen, managed by Sabrina Carver, trains two to three cohorts of five to eight clients for 12 weeks to fill various front and back of the house positions in restaurants. The USDA certified kitchen is also available to rent by those needing a place to make their culinary creations to be sold to the public.
The food truck, called Hometown Dogs, is ready to provide companies and private parties with a tasty fare inspired by the legendary hot dog chefs of Chicago. Having spent time in and near Chicago, Debby Graham missed the infamous ‘Chicago Dog’ and saw an opportunity to bridge the culinary divide while providing a work opportunity to Centerforce clients. To learn more about Hometown Dogs or to schedule a stop at your event or place of business, visit: http://hometowndogs.com/
The Centerforce facility, with its new commercial kitchen and remodeled meeting rooms, is now able to seat over 300. It has become a centerpiece of the Springbrook neighborhood outside of Joint Base Lewis McChord. Employing 40 full time and part time employees and providing work opportunities for up to 40 clients, the facility is also a meeting place for community groups. Graham very much appreciates the support shown by the City of Lakewood and all of the companies and organizations that have helped create and fund this functioning “job creator” in Pierce County. The organization is always looking for volunteers, donations, and job opportunities for the clients.
For additional information about this Pierce County employer, visit its website at www.centerforce.net or call Debby Graham at 253.584.1001.