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Career center opens for developmentally disabled

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled unveiled its new Jefferson Career Center on Buffalo's East Side this week, with various career suites designed to help youth and adults gain skills for the workplace.

The nonprofit agency spent $1.3 million to create the career training complex inside a 13,020-square-foot, Tudor-style brick building that was formerly home to the Bethel AME Head Start program.

The new facility at 1485 Jefferson Ave. provides hands-on and supportive learning programs that simulate actual workplaces to help clients gain and hold jobs in hotel housekeeping, automobile detailing, janitorial services, office administration, retail sales and hospitality services, among others. Officials are also planning a major expansion in early 2018 that will provide a culinary arts learning suite to support careers in food services.

The social services nonprofit worked with local businesses and organizations like Basil Family of Dealerships to design the learning suites with curriculum, supplies and authenticity.

The center will also offer a respite program for school-age children with disabilities, so weary parents can get a break. There's also a gross-motor room and an outside playground with a recreational area.

“We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” said agency CEO Mindy Cervoni. “The Jefferson Career Center will positively impact many of the people we support by helping them gain work skills and connecting them with competitive employment opportunities. This center will help people achieve their goals and lead more independent lives.”

The new facility was funded with support from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the John R. Oishei Foundation, M&T Bank, the James H. Cummings Foundation, First Niagara Bank, Basil, Northwest Bank and the Community Services Support Foundation.

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