Our History

The Indiana County Worksh
op opened its doors in 1971 with one trainee.  Growing to a capacity of over 150 individuals served within two divisions of our program, it is important to discuss how ICW got to where it is today.

In 1968 money became available for workshop programs through the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Act of 1966.  Indiana County Community Action Program (ICCAP) assessed the need in the County and proposed plans for a center that would provide sheltered employment, therapeutic self-help, and recreation for mentally disabled individuals.
 
ICCAP wanted to reach people who needed these programs but were not receiving the services or were ineligible for what was available as well as those people who could work in the private sector if they were first prepared in a structured environment.  The Armstrong/Indiana Counties' Mental Health/Mental Retardation Unit formed an advisory committee in 1970 to investigate contract work and to find a site.  The committee found sub-contract work from local industries and a site at 45 Foundry Avenue, Indiana.  Money from MH/MR provided the building, staff, and equipment.

A year later, May 1972, the Workshop and its fifteen trainees moved into 1200 School Street.  The Department of Welfare established guidelines in 1976 that resulted in the workshop becoming licensed as a vocational-rehabilitation center offering job placement.  The name changed in 1977 to Indiana County Workshop, Incorporated.  By 1982, the Workshop operated at full capacity with a waiting list of trainees.  In 1987 the Workshop received a small grant to initiate a micrographics business.  The new business moved into the IUP Business Incubator in August, 1988.

Also in 1987 the Workshop received a grant from the Department of Community Affairs to purchase the building which has housed the Workshop since 1992.  In 1991, the Workshop was awarded a two-year grant to organize a comprehensive employment program to employ persons with disabilities into competitive employment.  In 1995, the name of the organization was changed to ICW Vocational Services, Inc. 

In 2006, ICW Vocational Services, Inc. celebrated its 35th Anniversary at the Indiana Country Club.  Business partners, community members, agency affiliates, individuals, and families, joined in the celebration of the past and expressed goals for the future.