Training grounds for young adults with disabilities reopening

The CORE Store staff is preparing for their new store opening on December 10.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A vocational training facility for young adults with disabilities is getting a major reboot. The resource store, CORE, has relocated from their St. Joe River Road facility to the Northcrest Shopping Center.

Their mission is to partner with educators and community businesses to provide those young adults with disabilities-necessary training in a real-world environment and to foster the fundamental social skills needed to achieve independence.

“When the services stop for some students with disabilities in the school, there’s no real training valuable for them to help them go on further to get jobs,” explained Co-Executive Director Julie Williams.

CORE is an actual store where anyone can shop for school, office and craft supplies. All supplies are donated. The trainees use the facility to learn stocking, sorting, pricing and customer service. Up to 20 trainees help to sell the supplies.

CORE lost it’s sponsorship at their St. Joe River Road facility and had to close down for Summer 2016, but Williams said their program is too important to give up on. She shared the story of one of their trainees, a young woman named Sammie, to prove her point.

“Once Sammie got to know our trainer, Jen, she warmed up to her and Jen was able to work with her individual skills and really help her blossom in this CORE environment,” she explained. “So, the training program is critical for kids to be able to help them strengthen those characteristics that are really powerful and help them learn ones that maybe they aren’t aware of.”

Williams said they need community donations to help more people like Sammie.

“We really need financial donations because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and we help put all of those funds back into the training of the community for our trainees to get those jobs that are helpful in the community,” she said.

Williams added that the new store is a much more organized and realistic retail environment for the trainees, whereas the old location looked more like a donation center.

The ribbon cutting for the new Core store is Saturday, December 10 at 10 a.m at. 841 Northcrest Shopping Center.