In 1962, William Lintz, Sr. met with a group of concerned
parents at the IBEW Hall in Vanport, and they mapped out plans for the first day
program for adults with mental retardation in Beaver County. This group
petitioned Harrisburg for funding to establish the William Lintz Sheltered
Workshop. According to former Executive Director Samuel Lippincott, “Lintz
Workshop started operations in July 1962. Our first workshop was in the
basement of a small church on 25th Street in Beaver Falls.
William Lintz, Jr. and a group of other men actually had to take out the pews in
the church to make room for the program.” According to Mr. Lippincott, the
original workshop had nine clients. He says, “I started with the program
in September 1962 and by January 1963 we had grown from nine to fifty
individuals.” Mary Kay Lintz, the daughter of William Lintz, Sr., was the first
workshop secretary. She recalls the early years vividly. She states,
“Charles Peters and Kenneth Winograd were the first two Executive Directors.
After a short stay at the Beaver Falls church, the Lintz Workshop moved its
operations to the old Majestic Theatre in Rochester. Volunteers painted
the building with whatever paint happened to be donated. It was certainly
colorful.” Ms. Lintz, who was afraid of birds, recalls one incident when
“some enterprising individuals put a pigeon in my desk drawer.” More
often, the enterprising clients and staff of the Lintz workshop were working to
establish a foundation that would carry the program into the future.
In February 1971 the William Lintz Sheltered Workshop became
the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center. At the time, it was located at
312 Fifth Avenue, New Brighton (near the Beaver Falls-New Brighton Bridge).
Up until then, BCRC had exclusively served persons with mental retardation.
With the incorporation of BCRC, services were expanded to include persons with
mental illness. Twenty individuals left Dixmont State Hospital and entered
the community. The first rehabilitation and vocational evaluation services
were initiated at that time. Late in that same year, BCRC moved
Seventh Avenue, Beaver Falls. In November 1972, BCRC moved again to 1445
Market Street, Bridgewater where it remained for seven years. Samuel M. Lippincott, Jr. became the Executive Director in 1974 and he served in that
capacity for 17 years.
By 1980, BCRC had a daily roll of 95 people with
approximately 30 people on the waiting list. A need to expand prompted a
move in December, 1980 to the present site of the Administration Building at
1517 Sixth Avenue, New Brighton. The building had formerly been occupied
by the Bell Telephone Company.
By December 1981, 117 individuals were served and there was
a need to expand programming. In 1982, BCRC initiated a program designed
to provide specialized support services to persons with chronic mental illness.
The program was called Vocational Adjustment. BCRC started its first
training program in 1983 in cooperation with a community employer.
Janitorial services were provided at a community work site, and this was used as
preparation for community employment. A kitchen training program was
initiated in 1984 through a grant from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
and the Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation. Training and placement
in community employment became an essential part of BCRC.
first major enclave was initiated in cooperation with Mr. William Lewis in 1989.
Twenty to twenty-five people attended work at Good Samaritan Enterprises.
At its peak, as many as forty people worked on the headset refurbishing contract
for U.S. Airways. In 1991, BCRC received a grant to develop Integrated
Community Employment for persons who are vocationally challenged. This was
an initiative to extend competitive employment opportunities to people who had
more severe vocational challenges. The initiative was very successful, and
many individuals moved from the Work Activity Center to community employment.
Paulette Miller became BCRC’s sixth Executive Director in
1990. Under her leadership BCRC has seen a significant expansion of
existing facilities and services. The BCRC Assessment Center commenced
operations in the summer of 1993. This was the first time that vocational
assessment was separated from the Production Center. Over the years, BCRC
has added services for persons who are deaf, community job coaching and job
placement, School to Work transition services, Project Success (job placement
for persons who are economically disadvantaged), the Payment Agent Program and
an evening social program. BCRC initiated Psychiatric Rehabilitation
services, an individualized program for persons with mental illness, in 2003.
The agency has also added business ventures such as Candy Bouquet and Records
Management, designed to increase the variety of work options available to
individuals served by the program.
BCRC was chosen to initiate the Mental Health Employment Transformation and
CAPS youth services in conjunction with the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and Beaver County Behavioral
Health. A local advisory committee was formed and discreet, Evidence Based
employment services were established for persons with mental illness who had
previously been denied traditional employment support. The CAPS youth
program was initiated to provide vocational planning services to youth with
mental health or co-occurring issues and involvement with the juvenile
BCRC’s Supported Employment
program became WIN services in 2009 and expanded programming to include
habilitation, Autism Waiver Services and the MH Employment Transformation.
The Habilititation service expands individual independence in the home and
community through activities like cooking, money management, community
mobility, housekeeping, etc.
Today, BCRC provides services from five different locations.
Executive Director Paulette Miller is proud of the growth of the Beaver County
Rehabilitation Center over the years. She is happy that persons with
disabilities have “achieved greater acceptance in the community.” She
states, “I especially enjoy seeing the individual progress made by
currently serve, and those persons we have served throughout the years. It
is gratifying to know that people’s lives have changed for the better, and that
BCRC may have played a part in that growth.”
The future is bright for the Beaver County Rehabilitation
Center and the more than 500 persons currently served by the agency. Ms.
Miller states, “The clients’ progress inspires us to work even harder to provide
greater choice for BCRC’s clients and more opportunities for them to grow and
flourish.” The clients, staff and Board of Directors of the Beaver County
Rehabilitation Center look ahead confidently as they make “a promise for the