Nonprofit Buys Dry Cleaning Business for Job Training - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Nonprofit Buys Dry Cleaning Business for Job Training

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Young's Cleaners on West Ridge Road has a new owner and a new opportunity to help people with disabilities get prepared for real jobs in the work force. Opportunities Unlimited of Erie, a subsidiary of Stairways Behavioral Health, has acquired the business.

OU already provides people with disabilities chances for job training and coaching through custodial, laundry and floor care businesses that they take out into the community.  Now, with the help of Northwest savings bank they have purchased Young's cleaners, for $85,000.

For the first time the non-profit will be able to assess, train and coach workers with mental, or physical disabilities in a real business setting. That will offer the workers a stepping stone to other jobs.   And since Young's Cleaners is a real business, the organization will be making real money for their ongoing mission.

Char Myers, Director of Opportunities Unlimited said, "We are thrilled actually about this venture, it meets our needs in so many ways.  It provides opportunities to really make a difference in the lives of people. We were really looking for a venue to facilitate training for people. This provides us that and a very specific training and a stream of income that for any non-profit in today's economy is a good thing."

Doug Barns who owned the business for three decades is enthusiastic about Young's doing something meaningful for the community.  He is behind the job training mission, but until now, he knew little about it.  "I knew one person there well enough that I knew it was safe to trust something I had worked in for 30 years to them, and I'm just excited for them," said Barns.

Barns and his staff of five are sticking around to help with training.  With assessments, job training, coaching and hiring, the new venture is expected to benefit about 30 people per year.

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