CA Group employs disabled
By TIMOTHY COX
CA Group, known by many locally as Cheryl Ann programs, continues
to evolve and create new job opportunities for people coping
with mental or physical disabilities.
Formerly known as CA Industries, the non-profit arm of the Mercer
County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities,
the unit sought a name change more than a year ago to more accurately
reflect its changing role in the community.
“It was a philosophical thing,” said Dave Cavanaugh,
CA Group’s business development manager. “It more
clearly expresses who we are.”
The old name, CA Industries, still is held by the sheltered
workshop, where adult clients do a number of light assembly
and other contracted jobs under the close supervision of others.
That used to be the only way the program put disabled adults
to work. But today, the CA Group umbrella also includes CA Bicycle
Sales & Service and CA Lawn Service and a newly launched
light assembly site housed in the rear of the bike shop.
The new assembly operation represents new jobs for people who
were not working. They are not people who were moved out of
the workshop, CA Group Manager Tim Wilson said.
The move away from the sheltered environment of the workshop
is a sign of the times, Wilson said. Most adult clients want
“real world” jobs away from the sheltered atmosphere
of the workshop, he said. In fact, only one new worker has joined
the staff of the CA workshop in the past five years, he said.
Cavanaugh ventured that there may be a time in the future when
the flagship of the program’s jobs services is no longer
“We’re in a transition phase from the segregated
environment into what is becoming the new model for employment,”
Cavanaugh said. “Younger people don’t like the sheltered
A long-term goal of CA Group is to be recognized by the business
and industrial community as a viable service and manufacturing
company, Wilson said.
Associates at the workshop do work such as light assembly, inspection,
packaging, labeling, mailing and other labor-intensive work
that area companies contract to CA rather than do it in-house.
The bike shop was relocated from Coldwater to Celina last year
and offers bicycle maintenance and an array of bikes, skateboards,
equipment and other gear for sale. The store also has a new
manager, Joyce Weitz, who started work there last week.
Weitz is considered extremely knowledgeable about bicycling,
Wilson said, noting that she is the former owner of Weitz Bicycle
Shop in Wapakoneta.
The lawn service business was launched about two years ago.
The business provides its clients with full-service lawn care,
including mowing, trimming, edging, leaf and debris removal
and chemical applications.