Easter Seals unveils renovated training center in Waukesha

Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin is bolstering its mission with the opening of its revamped training center in Waukesha – a 50,000-square-foot space that acts as a hub for its workforce development programs.

The West Allis-based nonprofit, which ensures that people with disabilities have equal opportunities to work and thrive in their communities, opened its redesigned center at the end of September.

Renovations totaled $1.1 million, with construction completed by Nashotah-based MSI General from spring through early July.

The facility, located at 505 Northview Road, now holds an adaptive commercial training and catering kitchen, the first of its kind for Easter Seals and the only handicap-accessible kitchen of its kind in Waukesha County, the organization said.

The kitchen serves as a training ground for people with disabilities who are interested in jumpstarting a career in the hospitality industry.

Along with the commercial kitchen, the redeveloped center has two clean rooms designated for food product processing, handling and packaging and the production of Easter Seals LilyBrew private label coffee. These spaces can be leased to individuals and businesses needing a commercial kitchen setting for cooking demonstrations and classes or the production of private label goods.

Adjacent to the kitchen is a video equipped chef demonstration area, also leasable to the public, where the nonprofit will host daily living skills classes focused on meal preparation.

Additionally, the renovated space features a banquet facility and conference room that can hold up to 125 people, an adaptive technology lab with 26 computer stations and a revamped room to house the nonprofit’s Career Connect prevocational program.

The renovations are essential in helping the organization expand its mission and its revenue streams while creating a more inclusive workforce, said Bob Glowacki, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit.

“You cannot underestimate what it means that when people come here they are being served by individuals with disabilities,” Glowacki said. “It breaks down stereotypes…It opens up (people’s) eyes to the potential for including people with disabilities in their workforce.”

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