Chesapeake Service Systems (CSS) the area’s largest employer of adults with disabilities, autism and other intellectual disabilities has been up and running for over 25 years providing innovative and meaningful paid work opportunities that transform the lives of individuals with disabilities and help them reach their personal and professional goals. Over time CSS has grown to be a leader in the industry and is responsible for pioneering methods that have permanently changed the vocational rehabilitation landscape.
CSS is a private-nonprofit organization originally formed in January 1985 by the Chesapeake Community Services Board to provide vocational opportunities and habilitation to people with all types of disabilities. Since then, CSS has expanded and is now creating work opportunities for people with all different disabilities throughout Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. CSS has diversified and evolved its work programs to include a laundry occupational center, a shrink-wrap/packaging division, mobile work crews that help clean the City of Chesapeake, AbilityOne food service contracts at three local navy bases, work crews at Cox Communications and QVC, and a supported employment division that places individuals with severe disabilities in jobs out in the community at local grocery and department stores.
As a natural extension to its successful work programs, CSS has continued to aggressively expand its local presence. CSS opened its laundry occupational center in a poverty zone in Portsmouth in June of 2005. Since the completion of the building CSS went from providing just over a 100 individuals with jobs to being able to provide jobs for close to over 300 adults with disabilities. Unfortunately on Labor Day of 2010 a fire broke out in the facility completely destroying the building and leaving the laundry crew out of work. We are doing everything in our power to get the building back up and running at full capacity and hope to have this accomplished by May of 2011.
It has been a great twenty-five years but we don’t plan to rest on the accomplishments that have made us the largest provider of work opportunities for adults with severe disabilities in Hampton Roads. I am proud to celebrate this landmark achievement as it represents our resilience in an ever-changing economy as well as the impact we have had on the lives of hundreds of individuals with severe disabilities in our area. I credit this milestone to our unique ability to create innovative job solutions for our clients with severe disabilities that maximize their talents and skills, giving them a competitive edge in the working world as well as providing them with increased quality of life, independence, and self-esteem. We will continue to develop ground-breaking job opportunities that enable the individuals we serve the ability to be successful, contributing members of their communities.