About Eisenhower Center
What We Do
Eisenhower Center is a vocational training program that provides education and jobs for adults with disabilities.
We serve approximately 100 clients with a range of physical and developmental challenges, including those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, traumatic brain injury, emotional dysregulation and more.
Many of our clients have limited mobility or other severe physical disabilities and require assistance with basic daily living tasks, such as eating and personal hygiene.
The core mission of Eisenhower Center is to provide our clients with hope, dignity and work.
Hope that they can live as fully and independently as possible.
Dignity in the knowledge that they have a safe, welcoming and empowering environment to go to each day.
Work allows each of our clients to gain the satisfaction of learning new skills and earning a paycheck.
Staffing & Adaptive Equipment
Our staff includes approximately 30 full and part time staff, including six Production Leaders who work directly with our clients, providing guidance and quality control. In collaboration with our clients, our Production Leaders also help the center create innovative adaptive equipment, which allows all of our clients to participate in the work program, regardless of their disability. Eisenhower Center also maintains a full-service Education Department, which offers a variety of classes on such topics as daily living skills, money management, goal-setting, current events, history, music and even foreign languages. A team of personal care givers is on hand to provide assistance with eating and rest-room services.
Eisenhower Center traces its origins to the early 1950s. At the time, families, community members and service organizations joined together to develop a training program for people with cerebral palsy. Their mission was to provide a program that would provide training to improve the work skills and increase the independence of people with disabilities. In addition to the program, there was also a very strong parent group, which provided financial support and direction for the agency.
Our name is a salute to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who passionately believed in this cause.
The program was managed in a variety of locations throughout the Milwaukee community until it became apparent that a permanent home and professional staff was needed if the program was to grow and provide meaningful services. To meet these goals, Eisenhower Center moved into the Jewish Vocational Services facility in 1972. The program remained at JVS for the next 12 years.
In 1982 the program was reviewed by Milwaukee County. They asked the Eisenhower Board of Directors to shift the target population of the program to people with severe disabilities. Over the next few years, the program changed radically. Most of the clients required the use of wheelchairs for mobility and communication boards or gestural systems for communication. Many clients needed assistance with feeding and personal care. In an effort to better meet the needs of our expanding services and to develop program autonomy and community recognition, the Board decided to move into a facility of our own.
In June 1984, an independent program became a reality. A staff was assembled and preparations were made to change the focus of program services. October 4, 1984, Eisenhower Center opened its doors as an independent agency. In less than a year, the program developed into a dynamic work program for people with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.
Increased client population and the need for expanded work production space required a larger facility. In July 1991, another step forward was taken in our move to Woolworth Avenue in Milwaukee. Our facility is now located in a small industrial area, which enhances the work image and atmosphere of the program. Since we've moved into our present location, we have made great strides in creating a truly handicapped accessible, professional work environment for the people we serve. We have remodeled the client restrooms and purchased equipment that can withstand the kicks and bumps of wheelchairs. Our HVAC equipment has been replaced to ensure a temperature-controlled environment for many of our clients, who, due to their physical disabilities, cannot regulate their body temperatures.
Throughout the great efforts and personal sacrifices of many people, our agency has developed into what it is today - an agency dedicated to serving the needs of people with severe disabilities.