Celebrating 60 Years of Impact: The Kenosha Achievement Center’s Journey
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kenosha Achievement Center (KAC), it’s an opportune moment to reflect on its rich history and the incredible milestones it has achieved in serving the community. From its humble beginnings in 1964 to the present day, the KAC has been a beacon of hope, providing essential services and support to individuals with disabilities and their families.
1964 – Adult Services:
KAC began its journey by initiating Adult Services, focusing on promoting independence, self-esteem, and an improved quality of life for individuals with disabilities through personalized care plans.
1973 – Para Transit & Community Employment
In 1973, KAC introduces Para Transit services, providing crucial assistance with boarding and disembarking for individuals with disabilities. At the same time, assisting individuals to gain competitive community employment became a focus.
1988 – Rest Area Maintenance (RAM):
The Rest Area Maintenance program was established in 1988, reflecting KAC’s commitment to various community-based work initiatives .
1998 – Early Intervention Program (EIP):
Since 1998, the Early Intervention Program (EIP) has become a cornerstone, assisting families and caregivers in enhancing children’s learning and development. EIP provides service coordination, special education, and therapies for children aged birth to three years with developmental delays.
1999 – Racine Youthful Offenders Correctional Facility (RYOCF):
KAC became involved in supporting RYOCF in 1999. This State Use site, which provides employment opportunities in food service for people with disabilities, has been instrumental in our commitment to making a positive impact, with a current production output of 1,550 units per day.
2000 – Early Head Start (EHS):
Launched in 2000, the Early Head Start program delivers weekly home visits to income-eligible families with children under three years old. These visits focus on educational strategies for school readiness and address parents’ goals for financial self-sufficiency, serving nearly 100 families within the Kenosha Unified School District boundaries.
2001 – Benefit Counseling:
Through the Kenosha ADRC, KAC began assisting individuals to ensure they had access to a full array of disability benefits.
2003 – SPROUTS and Great Lakes Employment Shuttle:
In 2003, both Sprouts and the Great Lakes Employment Shuttle were introduced. Sprouts offers weekly playgroups for families with children under five, fostering socialization and developmental activities. The Great Lakes Employment Shuttle provides specialized transportation service to the naval base for disabled workers.
2008 – Western Kenosha County Transit Services:
Kenosha County contracted with KAC in 2008 to provide Western Kenosha County Transit services, equipped with wheelchair lifts and passenger assistance. Western Transit is available to the public with a service area concentrated in Kenosha County, west of I-94.
2016 – Summer Employment Exploration:
In 2016, the Summer Employment Exploration program was initiated, helping students with disabilities aged 16-21 gain practical work experience through hands-on activities, soft-skill training, and career exploration.
2018 – Voyage Program:
Launched in 2018, the Voyage Program focuses on increasing independence through community involvement. This active day program for young adults with disabilities emphasizes life skills, social interaction, and exploration of recreational and volunteer activities.
2023 – Help Me Grow:
In 2023, KAC introduced the Help Me Grow initiative, a nationwide system model empowering parents and caregivers to access the best resources for child development and family wellness through access to free developmental screenings and a helpline supporting parents with children aged birth to 5 years.
As the Kenosha Achievement Center enters its 60th year, it continues to stand as a testament to the power of community, resilience, and the impact that dedicated individuals and organizations can have on the lives of those they serve. Here’s to 60 years of achievements, growth, and making a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families in Kenosha County!