Lakestate seeks endowment fund campaign support

ESCANABA — Lakestate Industries is once again seeking the support of people in the community for its annual endowment fund campaign. Envelopes for this year’s campaign can be found in today’s issue of the Daily Press.

According to Executive Director Cheryl Ohman, this campaign has been running for the better part of a decade. Lakestate’s goal for this year’s campaign is to raise at least $20,000.

Lakestate has helped local people with disabilities develop work-related skills and experience since it began operating in the Escanaba area in 1969. Originally, it was known as “Delta Rehab.” (For about five years, Lakestate has also had a presence in Marquette.)

Ohman said Lakestate is largely self-sufficient — about two-thirds of its funding comes from the products and services it sells, and about one-third comes from referrals from agencies such as Michigan Rehabilitation Services and Pathways Community Mental Health.

The goal of the campaign is to make sure Lakestate will be able to keep offering its services even if the agencies it works with are affected by funding cuts. Donations to the campaign will go towards Lakestate’s endowment fund.

The products and services offered by Lakestate include subcontracting work, products made in Lakestate’s wood shop, and janitorial services. Local Lakestate employees also work at Delta Wide Recycling and for a variety of other employers in the community.

As a result of new federal guidelines, some changes are coming to Lakestate.

“Our services will be changing some based on the new federal guidelines,” Ohman said. Legislation establishing these guidelines was signed during the Obama administration, but the guidelines will officially go into effect in March 2019.

The new guidelines call for people with disabilities to be integrated more heavily into their communities. Ohman noted that Lakestate has been preparing for the implementation of these guidelines by placing more people with disabilities in community-integrated jobs and developing alternative programming options. Lakestate will continue to offer the products and services it does today, as well.

Ohman thanked people in the communities where Lakestate is active for their involvement with the campaign.

“We are very grateful for the support of both Escanaba and Marquette,” she said.

For more information on Lakestate Industries, visit lakestateindustries.org.