Making a difference: South Central Industries to complete new warehouse in August

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
South Central Industries is expecting to complete its new warehouse project in August.

South Central Industries is expecting to complete its latest construction project for the largest warehouse on its campus in August.

According to SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna, the warehouse will be just over 12,000 square feet and will accommodate the 21 percent increase in sales that SCI has had over 20 years and to date in 2021.

"It will house products, mostly janitorial and office supply, that are sold to state agencies and private sector businesses," Hanna said. "This is how SCI is able to provide jobs for the clients we serve —  People Experiencing Exceptional Purpose (Peeps)."

Hanna said the warehouse is part of phase one of the SCI's Better Together Project.

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SCI received funding for the construction of the warehouse from the 2020 Community Economic Development Grant, which was $800,000 and awarded to the organization by the Administration of Children and Families under the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Anderson Foundation, out of Austin, Texas, also contributed toward the Better Together Project.

South Central Industries is expecting to complete its new warehouse project in August.

Additionally, SCI recently received funding from Pottawatomie County commissioners.

"We were fortunate enough to receive $102,000 in funding from the county commissioners," Hanna said. "They were eager to help with this project as it creates sustainable jobs for low income individuals in the county."

Hanna explained the funds from the county will help meet facade and landscaping requirements as well as help with warehouse construction.

"This project will create over 40 living wage jobs for low income individuals in the county as well as provide for the collection of additional county tax dollars through revenue generated by SCI," Hanna said.

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SCI was founded in 1981 to provide vocational training to individuals with developmental disabilities.

"Today we offer a variety of employment opportunities from city beautification and lawn care to janitorial and warehouse fulfillment services," Hanna said. "Clients may participate in volunteer opportunities and self-enrichment programs, while others take advantage of our residential services."

She explained SCI believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be an active participant in the community.

"Whether it’s through employment or social activities, meaningful social connections break through the isolation often faced by our clients," Hanna said.

Hanna said programs within the Better Together initiative are made for those with and without disabilities.

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"Focus areas include inclusion, housing, social connections, health, life skills, financial education and employment," Hanna said.

There are five total phases of Better Together Project, including phase one being the warehouse and community resource room, while phase two is STRIVE mentoring homes, which will provide mentoring and job training services. Phase three is community bases housing, which will provide 16 units for people with IDD and market rate rentals in the area around the main campus of SCI, and phase four is the parklet and community garden. Phase five is the Adult Day Center, which will allow SCI vocational clients to age with dignity and retire from the vocational program.

"Going forward, South Central Industries would like to keep working to complete all five phases of the Better Together Project," Hanna said. "It is our belief that everyone has a right to a job, a safe affordable home and a vibrant, inclusive community."

SCI will continue to work for those it serves and for the community it operates in, she added.

"We are incredibly grateful for the generous grant from the county commissioners," Hanna said. "Without our friends and partners, none of this would be possible."

Check back for updates.