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Overcoming Challenges with High-Tech Changes at VSI

VSI CEO Randy Hylton (center) was assisted by Jimmy Schaefer and Becky Day in the recent ribbon cutting for newly remodeled facilities at the North Kansas City workshop.

Despite COVID and other challenges, Vocational Services, Inc., continues to provide employment and other opportunities for Clay and Platte County residents with disabilities.

In fact, VSI has made significant improvements to its three locations, one in North Kansas City and two in Liberty. A ribbon cutting for the new facilities was held Aug. 30 at the North Kansas City location, 101 W 18th Ave.

Much of the work focuses on breakrooms and other common areas where employees with disabilities spend time off the workroom floor. And while the improvements will make their workdays more enjoyable and comfortable, safety is also a big part of the effort.

“We wanted to make our locations as nice as possible,” explained Randy Hylton, CEO. “It’s really bringing improvement for every location.”

The newly remodeled break area at VSI's No. 1 Shop in North Kansas City features completly new flooring and dividers to help with COVID distancing.

Executive Director Kimbal Mothershead noted several new items are in response to the continuing spread of COVID, a particular threat to people with developmental disabilities who often deal with physical health challenges as well. One of the additions targets that directly with an advanced monitoring system.

“They automatically read the temperature of every person who passes them,” Mothershead said. “It can even tell if someone is not wearing a mask.” The system also stores the information for up to 10 days, so if someone gets sick later, VSI staff members can go back and look for temperature spikes. The sensor units look like small computer tablets mounted on a wall, and they are designed to allow other measuring modules to be added later if needed.

Other improvements include completely new restrooms with hands-free fixtures. New, “floating” floors are easier to clean and easier on worker’s legs. There are plexiglass dividers in the breakroom so employees can safely remove their masks while eating. Other improvements will be added later to work areas, including the floating floors.

The work took approximately two months to complete and was funded with support from the Clay County Developmental Disabilities Resource Board and the Arc of Clay and Platte Counties.

The ribbon cutting ceremony in North Kansas City featured Hylton assisted by the two longest-serving employees at the shop, Becky Day and Jimmy Schaefer.

Please Note:

VSI continues monitoring the Covid-19 situation and how it impacts our community. Beginning May 11, we began bringing back our employees at the Sheltered Workshops in small groups at a time.

Because of all of the safety requirements and training procedures, it will be s very safe and slow process for all of our employees to return. As we can arrange transportation and prepare each shop to safely handle our return, Sherry Summers will contact each of you to set a date for you to begin working at the workshops again. You cannot return until we have interviewed you and given you the proper information and personal protective equipment (PPE) that you will need in order to be prepared to return to your job.

Everyone here on staff is very excited for you to come back but we must do it in a scheduled and orderly manner. Please be patient and we will get everyone back to work as soon as we can. In the meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy!

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Vocational Services, Inc. is recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The Arizona-based organization is considered the nation's leading accreditation agency for rehabilitation services. VSI has earned CARF's highest rating, a three-year accreditation.