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West Michigan job training program for disabled will soon close its doors

Aug 13, 2015

Credit Kate Hiscock / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Funding cuts are forcing a west Michigan organization that helps people with developmental disabilities and other employment barriers find jobs to shut its doors.

Kandu Industries in Holland provides vocational training, job placement and other services for thousands of people with cognitive impairments, physical disabilities and other barriers that could make it difficult to find employment.

A group of parents worried about their disabled children's options after high school graduation started the organization in 1953.

Lynn Doyle, director of Community Mental Health of Ottawa County, says Kandu has helped many CMH clients who have special needs like extra supervision or job modifications.

"For a lot of our folks, it would be difficult to simply walk into one of our local companies, fill out an application on their own and interview on their own," Doyle said.

Doyle says a $2 million budget shortfall at Ottawa CMH this year likely played a role in Kandu's decision.

"We've had to pass those decreases down to some of our contractual providers," she said. "We've been working with Kandu to reduce attendance for some of our consumers, reduce the hours they're going to the program and, hence, decrease funding."

Doyle says around 170 Ottawa CMH clients use Kandu's services.

The organization also serves CMH clients in Allegan and Muskegon counties.