In the early 1960s, AWS formed an Architectural Barriers Committee, with far-reaching impact as many Fort Wayne, Indiana, public and private buildings and sidewalks received accessibility ramps.
The History of AWS
AWS is a human services agency serving people with disabilities. Its development began in 1957 when a community volunteer committee, which would ultimately become the United Way of Allen County (Indiana), launched a study to consider the provision of work-related services for individuals with disabilities. From that study, the Community Coordinating Center for Rehabilitation and Health Services, Inc., was founded in 1960. While providing vocational rehabilitation was one of the goals, medical consulting, dental services and services for the blind were also part of the center's responsibility.
By 1972, steady growth, both in terms of programs provided and in numbers of people served, prompted the agency's name change to Anthony Wayne Rehabilitation Center for the Handicapped and Blind, Inc., a designation that reflected the primary focus of our work at the time. We continued to seek new opportunities to serve people with disabilities.
...today we employ more than 3,000 people helping 8,500 infants, children and adults with disabilities at each stage of life.
While a slow and steady approach best characterizes the agency over the first 30 years, vigorous describes the growth that began in the mid-1990s. Contributing factors included changing industry trends, development of new programs, additional funding sources and a corporate philosophy that encourages advancement into new markets. During the early years of rapid growth, Anthony Wayne Rehabilitation Center for the Handicapped and Blind, Inc., or Anthony Wayne Services, adopted the name AWS.
Today we employ more than 3,000 people helping more than 8,500 infants, children and adults with disabilities at each stage of life. AWS' operations span nine states, with programs in Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee.
From the beginning, the purpose of AWS has been to ask our clients, "What do you need?" We tailor our services to meet the needs of each individual we serve. It is our mission to help individuals with disabilities live as independently as possible, be included in the community and function at their maximum potential.
AWS Celebrates 50 Years of Helping People With Disabilities Thrive!
Throughout 2010, AWS celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities. To learn more, please visit our 50th Anniversary page.