NW Works 50 years

Top of Virginia Regional Chamber CEO Cynthia Schneider (left) presents a plaque to NW Works CEO Debera Taylor at NW Works’ 50th anniversary celebration Thursday in front of the NW Works building in Winchester.

WINCHESTER — NW Works celebrated 50 years of being in the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.

The ceremony, held at the NW Works building at 3085 Shawnee Drive as well as on Zoom, was hosted by the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber.

According to its website, NW Works is a nonprofit organization that offers programs and services to meet the needs of individuals who are 17 years or older and have long-term disabilities, such as developmental disabilities, mental health issues, physical challenges, traumatic brain injuries, and hearing and vision impairment. The organization also works with families in need, veterans with disabilities, and others who have “barriers to employment.”

“Everyone of every ability gets to come here and work as needed,” Cynthia Schneider, Top of Virginia’s CEO, said. “They’ve developed this organization from the ground up. This is a great day of celebration.”

NW Works CEO Debera Taylor spoke to those gathered both in person and on Zoom, first thanking her board, her staff, clients and business partners.

“What began in 1970 with an executive director and five clients has grown into NW Works serving over 200 clients a year,” she said. “I can’t say enough how thrilled I am to be in this position to celebrate this occasion.”

NW Works prides itself on workforce development, individualized supported employment, day support services, group supported employment and community engagement and coaching to help meet the needs of their clients.

The organization also started Project Search, which is a group consisting of the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, NW Works, local community services boards, Frederick County Public Schools, Winchester Public Schools, and Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center that allows students in their final year of high school to participate in three different nine-week internships.

Taylor said she’s proud of the initiatives going on at NW Works.

“We’re going to continue to grow — our brands, our business partnerships, our school partnerships through Project Search and our job development opportunities,” she said. “That’s what we’re here to do, and that’s what we’re about — to enable our clients to grow with us and grow their skills and abilities.”

Before cutting a celebratory ribbon, Taylor’s final remark was about looking ahead.

“We’re a family here. I look forward to the success we’re going to have over the next 50 years,” she said.

— Contact Matt Welch

at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

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