Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. is a not-for-profit agency providing services to those of our community with the greatest needs. Our purpose is to ensure each member of our community has the opportunity to be employed using their strengths, talents and interests, working at their fullest potential. Through employment, each individual contributes to their community and thus actively participates in society.
Our mission is dual as we provide work training to persons with various disabilities, while creating positive employment futures for persons who experience other barriers to employment, such as lack of experience, inadequate skills, unemployment, etc.
Our goal is to offer each person education and training opportunities in an environment as culturally normative as possible, so they can become participating members of the community. Before this is possible, each person must develop certain life skills. Each person is encouraged through individual and group experiences to achieve their highest potential. As they progress in their development, the most appropriate and least restrictive program is provided.
The purpose of Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. is to ensure that each member of our community has the opportunity to be employed using their strengths, talents and interests, working at their fullest potential. Through employment, each individual contributes to their community and thus actively participates in society. Our mission is dual as we provide work training to persons with various disabilities such as intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and developmental disabilities, while creating positive employment opportunities for persons who experience other barriers to employment, such as lack of experience, inadequate skills, unemployment, etc. Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. provides essential work training by contracting work through local employers. Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. has been fortunate to work with local companies such as Shape Products, Wal-Mart, Sonoco, Swiss Miss, and Vets Plus, to name a few. Indianhead Enterprises seeks to provide consumers essential real work which becomes the foundation for them to better their work skills and thus create better work futures for themselves.
Indianhead Enterprises, Inc., just like most “sheltered workshops”, was started in either a home or a church basement by concerned parents. The group had been in existence since 1971. During that time a one year grant was awarded to the Dunn County Association for Retarded Citizens. The grant was to study the needs of the developmentally disabled in the community, the number of individuals needing services and to develop a program. The Developmental Disability Act Grant was awarded to the Association for Retarded Citizens.
The Grant ended and the program began operating under the administration of the Tri-County Mental Health Clinic for funding and support. Located at the Dunn County Health Care Center, the program was named Dunn County Day Care Center. Individuals that attended the program were involved in social skills building, personal hygiene, daily activity training and community activities.
The program needed to grow and the Dunn County Health Care Center was expanding. It was time for the program to move. The program was moved to North Menomonie, in the old Red Owl building, and the name was changed to the Dunn Adult Activity Center, operated under the Unified Services of Western Wisconsin. Focus was still on daily living skills, but slowly introduced work.
In 1978, the operation moved its programing and services to 2121 South Broadway, the old John Deere building. It was still administered under the Unified Services of Western Wisconsin. The center’s name changed to Unified Industries. Unified Industries continued to develop its work model for persons with disabilities offering prime manufacturing and sub-contract work.
Unified Services of Western Wisconsin disbanded and a new private Not-For-Profit was born. The program located at 2121 South Broadway was redefined to administer under a five member not-for-profit board. The center was named Indianhead Enterprises of Menomonie, Inc., and served approximately 68 clients, 6 hours per day, five days per week, year-round. Primary disabilities included Intellectual Disabilities, Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy. Age range was from 21 through 72 years old
In 1983, through a new building project, Indianhead Enterprises completed construction of an 11,400 sq. ft. metal building funded through a Community Development Block Grant Loan. In April 1983, all clients, staff and equipment had been transferred to this new facility located in the Menomonie Industrial Park.
The program continues to grow and increase work opportunities for individuals with disabilities. A 2,400 square foot addition was completed allowing for more production and warehouse space.
Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. is governed by a seven member Board of Directors, which are elected representing a cross section of the local community. There are nine staff positions consisting of administration, rehabilitation and production staff. Indianhead also employs approximately 30 individuals in support labor positions who perform a variety of manufacturing and custodial functions, as well as mentor to the clients that we serve.
THE main reason we are here, our clients. Just a quick history lesson about “Sheltered Workshops”, these, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), have been around for over 60 years. When these programs really took off around 50 years ago and had a greater focus on work, the population served was very different. An individual with a severe disability was a person in a wheelchair with a Doctorate degree or a farmer who lost a hand in an accident.
Individuals considered to be intellectually disabled or developmentally delayed were extremely different as well. These individuals were capable of working independently, holding a drivers license, living on their own, and so on. The times have surely changed. This is only due to the success of the vocational rehabilitation system, which was led by “Sheltered Workshops”.
Today CRP’s are serving a total different population of severely disabled adults. The majority of the clientele today cannot work independently, cannot live on their own, cannot use a microwave, cannot tell time, cannot transport independently, and so on.
Most of Indianhead Enterprises clients live in group homes around the Menomonie area. Some still live with parents and some may live on their own with minimal support. Clients are transported by the group homes or Dunn County Transit, some may transport themselves, but very few. Clients work a variety of hours, depending on their needs. We have some that work five days per week, six hours per day and some that work only one day per week, two hours per day.
We all know about the clients, they are why we are here! They are one class of employee.
We are not all professional athletes, but we all want equal pay as a professional athlete. This is not reality and is difficult for most people to understand, but the Federal Government allows us to pay people equal pay for equal output. Most of us will never be able to throw a touchdown pass in the NFL so we should not get the same pay. We all have skills and abilities and our pay should be according to our output. Another easy example is a doctor. Should doctors receive equal pay if one doctor sees 1,000 patients per year versus a doctor who sees one patient per year.
This is how it works. Some of the clients earn minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) or above, while most are being paid based on a piece rate. Each of our piece rate jobs is time studied to determine how many a non-disabled person can complete in a 50 minute hour. This amount is considered 100%. From this, a piece rate wage is assigned.
The Federal Government requires us each year to do a prevailing wage survey of surrounding businesses that perform like work. That average wage is what we base our piece rates on. In 2019 our prevailing wage rate increased to $11.84 per hour. This means that if an individual works at 100% of the norm, they could be earning $11.84 per hour.
The second category is our Support Labor. Support Labor are basically that. We hire them to assist with the production demands of our customers.
Some of the production work we do cannot all be completed by our clients. Thus, we need to hire non-disabled production works to perform some of the light assembly and packaging jobs we have. Some of this is to just keep up with customer demands and others are for jobs too difficult for the clients to perform.
The number of support labor we have on board all depends on how busy we are. We typically have between 10 and 20 support labor positions working at the I-94 rest stops and in-house. The majority of these working in-house work alongside individuals with disabilities. We have brought community integration to Indianhead, instead of Indianhead to the community.
The last category is our Staff. The staff is hired to fulfill our mission. Without our staff we would be nothing but a production facility.
Once again, agencies like ours have come a long way. Communities wanted to provide employment for individuals with disabilities, and we have. The system has been so successful that States then wanted to shut down State Institutions and provide employment in community settings for the most severely disabled individuals in the State. This is where we have seen such a change in our clientele. The individuals that we started serving some 40 years ago have been successful and have transitioned into competitive jobs in the community. The individuals we serve now are much lower in functioning ability and will more than likely not make it in a competitive job. But agencies such as ours continue to be successful in providing these folks with jobs that are safe and accepting.
Our industry is a very complex business. Indianhead Enterprises is like two businesses in one. We have our client services or our human services business and we have our contract services or our manufacturing/job shop business. It is an ongoing operation which needs to juggle the two operations smoothly in order to succeed in both.
At times, it is easy to lose track of what we are and why we are here. Some tend to lose site because of the title “not-for-profit”. With this, we focus too much on the human services end of the operation and don’t focus on making money. Some tend to lose site because we are focused on making money. With this, we focus too much on making money and lose track of our mission and the human services end of the operation. It is an ongoing struggle, but one that is easy to fulfill once you understand we are a not-for-profit business.
Indianhead Enterprises, Inc. is a not-for-profit business, in business to fulfill our Mission. A not-for-profit is different than a non-profit. Not-for-profits strive to make money, non-profits lose money. As a business, we need to make money, or show a profit, in order to fulfill our Mission. Enhancing programs to our clients, or fulfilling our Mission, is accomplished with making money. This allows an agency to keep investing in its programs, staff and services.
The future of Indianhead Enterprises is up in the air. There are many in Washington DC trying to close facilities like Indianhead Enterprises down. The theory they present is that everyone should be working in the community making above minimum wage. While this is a great theory, it is not reality. Some of the individuals Indianhead serves do not have the skills and abilities to work in the community, or some just simple do not want to work anywhere else. Our system is trying to force individuals into where they should work. Indianhead Enterprises believes in the individual and the individual’s right to choose what job they have and where they work.
As we continue to move forward and provide the quality services to our clients that we have for the past four decades, things look bright. Indianhead continues to have strong relationships with business and industry, with parents and guardians, and most importantly, with our clients. We will continue to focus on providing a safe and accepting place of employment to those individuals with disabilities.