In the mid 60's a group of parents and community members found the need to have an employment opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The process began to find a facility and means for the mission. A building was secured on 10th Street and a thrift store was opened. This allowed the few original employees a means of employment. As time went on and the need grew a group of community members decided to incorporate as a non-profit company. On September 23rd , 1966 the corporate charter was granted. The original name was The Sheltered Workshop of St Joseph. As told by a inaugural board member, the original board of directors were primarily called on when there was a financial need. This same board member recalls one of the first "big" jobs was packaging a product for Wire Rope Co. to be distributed in Sears.
In the early 1970's the Workshop moved into a building on 4th Street. Local people remember this as the Noma Lights building. The Workshop began to grow and add employees and staff in this building.
In the early 1990's the board realized a need to have a new facility. In 1992 with Gloria Thomas as the President/CEO the facility moved to its present location at 3801 South Leonard Rd and the name was changed to Specialty Industries of St Joseph Inc. At this location the company has continued to grow and has built 2 additions to the original building.
Since opening our doors in 1966, the workshop has grown and became a respected business working with many area businesses providing hand-assembly and labeling services. The workshop today, is now home to 95 individuals with disabilities and a staff and management of 14 in a building of over 92,000sq.ft. Here our employees provide high labor intensity services in an environment where they feel safe and can work to their full potential. Specialty Industries is a base where our employees can network, socialize and be part of a team.
It is important to note that the vision stated in the original charter in 1966 is the very same vision we state today. Today's staff and management along with the support of our 18 member board of directors will continue to lead this company with our Mission, Vision and Value's as our top priority.