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Loss of contract brings new ventures


February 5, 2009
John speer, Editor

Tama News-Herald

Loss of a major contract due to economic concerns has spurred new work for consumers at the Tama County Career Development Center in Tama.

A contract for piece work for a model airplane maker was lost last August so that company could avoid layoffs at its plant, according to Starla Elsberry, the Career Center coordinator.

Article Photos

Liz Moyer and Vince Boyer were busy working last week ironing and cutting quilting material at the Tama County Career Development Center in downtown Tama.

News-Herald/John Speer

To fill some of the void, the "Quilters Closet" has been developed and the existing "Butterfly Creations" business has been expanded.

Most of the 17 consumers currently at the center spend their days producing goods for sale and also do piece work for area firms including such jobs are assembling mailings.

"All we do helps people build their job skills with projects they can do and enjoy doing," Elsberry said. She said she hopes the center is kept in mind by area businesses and industry who might have assembly or other work.

Fact Box


To Do Info:

Tama County Career Development Center

Offers: Quilting materials, gazing balls, furniture work, jewelry and art, workers for piece work, more

Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday

Location: 231 West 3rd St., Tama

Phone: 641-484-5552

The center is funded by Tama County under the supervision of the board of supervisors.

Elsberry said it was determined there are many persons in the area who do quilting and some younger persons are also becoming interested in the craft.

To supplement the quilters, up to five of the consumers take clean, fabric which has been donated, iron it and cut it to size in quilt squares. The finished product is then packaged on-site and offered for sale.

Along with the squares, some books about quilting and some completed quilt tops have been donated. These items are also sold.

"It's an interesting project for the consumers and allows them to use a number of skills," Elsberry said.

The Career Development Center has gained a measure of fame for their "Butterfly Creations" bowling balls which are decorated with stained glass and turned into garden gazing balls.

A portion of the rear of the building is devoted to creating the gazing balls.

Consumers at the center are now are using the glass for new jewelry creations.

Some of the stained glass is melted and formed into earrings, necklaces and broaches. An on-site kiln is used to melt the glass.

Other recent additions to the products are wine bags with attached charms. The charms are glass and made along with the jewelry.

A second type of bag is also being made. The idea of staff member Berlene Wobeter, consumers are recycling T-shirts into reusable tote bags for shopping.

Other work at the Career Development Center includes custom decorating furniture, wall paintings, art style note pads and repacking bulk detergent for South Tama Food Pantry distribution.

Staff members include Missy Massengale, Teresa Vodochodsky, Wobeter and Elsberry.

Elsberry is also coordinator for the Career Development Center in Grinnell.



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