CMSE and Giving Gardens celebrates 5th year
COLUMBIA - Spring was in full bloom Friday as Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises celebrated the fifth anniversary of its Giving Gardens.
CMSE is an organization that provides vocational training and employment opportunities to people with severe disabilities in the Central Missouri area. The CMSE program started 45 years ago.
Bruce Young, the executive director of the CMSE, said when the work program started, manufacturing made up almost 67 percent of the workforce. Young said manufacturing now makes up only 16 percent of the workforce.
"We realized that if we wanted to exist we needed to make some changes," Young said.
The group decided to create the Giving Gardens five years ago to provide more working opportunities for people with disabilities.
Young said the employees do a wide variety of jobs, including planting, watering and transplanting plants. The group's ultimate goal for each employee is for them to move on into competitive employment.
"We work very closely with Columbia Public Schools," he said. "They bring students here to acclimate them to a work environment so that when they graduate, if they're not able to work in a competitive employment, they can come work here."
Bill Regan has worked as the consultant of horticulture for the greenhouse for the past five years, and said this venture is more rewarding than most of the work he has done.
"It's a feel good feeling to work here and help serve these folks and help supply a meaningful job for them," he said. "It doesn't get a whole lot better than that."