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The Work Training Center (WTC) was started in 1949, to serve adults with developmental disabilities in Chico. The first workshop was located at the Chico Municipal Airport, with four persons served and one volunteer staff. The facility was an old barracks building. This workshop was the first of its kind in this area. Ten years later, the workshop moved to 1530 Park Avenue and added a thrift shop. We then served 12 persons.

In 1960, the Work Training Center Association for the Handicapped was incorporated as a private, nonprofit corporation. This organization was supported by parents and local organizations with the assistance of the Butte County Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), Butte County Schools, Butte County Handicapped Association, and the United Cerebral Palsy organization.

In August of 1963, WTC moved to its present Chico location at 2233 Fair Street. The participant population had increased to 24 and new space was leased at our current location. It was not until 1972 that the main shop building was built with the help of a capital fund drive and community volunteers. Feather River Opportunity Center was created in the late 60’s with help from the Oroville Adult School and ARC. The name of the facility was changed to Feather River Industries and was merged with WTC in 1990.

In 1978 there were 45 persons served, 15 staff members, and a budget of $500,000. 

In 1980 the Creative Learning Center was opened in a small house on the Skyway in Paradise. Prior to locating in Paradise, the Creative Learning Center program was placed at the Mulberry House behind WTC’s main facility. CLC moved to its new location on Ewald Court in 1987. In 1970, the Joe McGie Center began providing services as a program of ARC.

In 1980, administration of the Joe McGie Center was transferred from ARC to WTC. The Joe McGie Center was named after Butte County’s first director of Special Education.

In 1981, Do-It Leisure, which began as a university and community cooperative effort, merged with the Work Training Center. Do-It Leisure provides therapeutic recreation, independent living skills, parenting and social recreation services, weekly sports classes, out of town day and weekend excursions, dances, summer camps, and an integrated theatre troupe.

In 2014, we have grown to serve over 400 people in various Work Training Center programs in 14 locations, with a staff of 250 and a budget of $12.1 million, providing jobs and service for all of Butte County.

In 2018 the Camp Fire devastated our neighboring town of Paradise resulting in the closure of two of our centers, Made in Paradise and the Creative Learning Center. We moved both programs to our main campus until we sold all our facilities on Fair Street in 2020 amid the world COVD-19 pandemic. 

2021 has already been a redefining year for the Work Training Center. We are reestablishing ourselves and our services by creating more person centered and innovative services. We started in 1949 by a group of parents who had a vision to bring services to their children. 72 years later, we are still bringing this vision to light with bigger and better services each year. We are a quality driven organization where our consumers are our top priority, always.