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Staff moving to preserve Tama Career Dvp. Center

February 25, 2013
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A second presentation by a potential operator, this time REM Iowa, for the Tama County Career Development Center was heard by parents, guardians, consumers and county officials Tuesday night at the center in downtown Tama.

Following the REM presentation, the three current Career Development Center (known as CDC) staff members Berleen Wobeter, Missy Massengale and Teresa Vodochodsky presented their own proposal.

In effect, they want to forget contracting with an outside operator. Instead, they are exploring forming a company to take over the operation themselves.

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Tama County Career Development Center in downtown Tama.
News-Herald file photo

Wobeter stressed the idea is "very preliminary." Vodochodsky said they have already encountered some "roadblocks." However the three staff made it clear the only true roadblock is if they simply cannot form an organization to successfully take over and continue to offer what is now provided.

Their proposal met with enthusiasm from both parents, guardians and consumers on hand Tuesday night.

The CDC currently serves a total of 14 full time consumers and three part-time consumers from across the county.

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It is known the CDC must have new a new operator.

That much is clear if the services are to continue to be offered. Iowa Valley Continuing Education announced Jan. 16 it would not renew its contract at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The contract for operation of a similar center in Marshalltown was also dropped.

The decision stemmed from changes in Medicaid and funding for services "not keeping pace" according to Iowa Valley.

As a result, concerns about possible staff and program changes, the closing of the Tama CDC and busing to a Marshalltown center have arisen.

Todd Rickert, Tama County Central Point of Coordination administrator encouraged the CDC staff to continue to pursue coming up with plan.

Rickert again stressed the importance of moving quickly as he did at a Jan. 29 presentation by Genesis Development, another possible service provider.

When Sara Drish, area director for REM Iowa Developmental Services, found out Tuesday night the rent for the current CDC is $1 per year, she backed off somewhat from her statement the current center would not be used if her firm became the operator. She initially said the Tama County and Marshalltown centers would be combined under a REM plan. REM provides residential and day / vvocational in a variety of locations throughout Iowa. It is a for-profit company.

Rickert again made it clear the Tama County Arc organization plays a major role in any decision about the future of the CDC in Tama.

John Willett, Tama attorney and long-time Arc member, told The News-Herald in January CDC consumers and families could rest assured Arc would continue to support the CDC operation here.



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