Handishop Industries

Rehabilitation Center and Adult Day Centers in Wisconsin

Agency Information: address, hours of operation, geographical area served

Their facilities are open Monday through Friday 7:30-4:30. They have a production facility in Tomah, WI and a day center in Tomah WI and Sparta, WI. Handishop Industries doesn’t focus on any one disability. They have people ranging in age from 16-80 and serve people with physical and emotional disabilities and mental health.


History of agency

Handishop Industries has been around since 1972 and was started by a group of parents that wanted more opportunities for their children. They have grown extensively to a $3 million a year organization that serves about 70 people in their employment center, 20 in the Tomah Day Center, and about 40 people in the Day Center in Sparta. They are also the largest provider of Rest Area Maintenance in the state of Wisconsin. They maintain rest areas from Dubuque, Iowa to Black River Falls, WI.


Agency interaction with schools, parents, youth

Until this year Ryan Tichenor chaired our local Transition Action Council meetings. This is a group of providers, many of which are competitors in business, that come together to help educate students, parents, and guardians of the process of navigating the very cumbersome world after high school and how to begin to successfully transitioning out of high school . They try to start these conversations as early as possible because it tends to take time.

They also are a part of an ATeam that gets together to help advocate for resources and opportunities for people with disabilities of all ages.

They also provide internships to students in the special education classes to start to show them what it is like to go to work, take directions from a supervisor, and how to act appropriately when at work. They do this during the school day and the school provides the transportation to and from work.


Funding of the agency

They are funded through Family Care, IRIS, and private pay by families that do not qualify for any assistance.


Services the agency provides

· Day centers (social and recreational programming)

· Work Center ( work skills)

· Rest Area Maintenance (Community based employment)

· Skills Training (these are soft skills that are taught in an interactive pseudo classroom environment)


How do individuals access the service; eligibility?

To work in their work center you must be at least 16 years of age and be able to obtain a work permit. To work in their work center you must be disabled for the work performed. To attend their day center one must be 18 and able to provide evidence that they would benefit from their programming. They can access our services by contacting them directly and request information. Typically a case manager through family care or IRIS make the outreach and facilitate the enrollment.


How is the agency evaluated and by whom?

People with disabilities are like everyone else….. they are different than the next person. As a result they are evaluated by their funding agencies on a case by case basis. Just because they don’t show results with one person doesn’t mean that they will not have results with another person with the same disability.


Describe the agency link to the IEP/Transition process

They work as requested. Unfortunately, they are not asked to attend or contribute to the IEP process. They have asked numerous times and most parents don’t want them to be a part of it. For those that do they attend the meetings and offer input on how to reach goals and provide evidence to as how they are meeting their current goals.

Handishop Industries