EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 7, 2013

Agency for adults with disabilities builds new center

Features classrooms for life skills, work training

(Continued)

She said Opportunity Works has grown dramatically in the number of people served and the scope of programs provided.

“Our Haverhill site is at capacity, serving many people with more involved needs, which requires more space,” Harris-Fale said.

Two years ago, officials with the agency announced they had reached the maximum allowed capacity of clients at their Summer Street offices and were looking for a larger building. Because of the space problem, at least 10 Haverhill area clients had to travel daily to the agency’s Newburyport center.

Today, more than 200 people from across the Merrimack Valley and beyond take part in support programs the agency offers. Opportunity Works has maintained a satellite facility at 209R Summer St. in Haverhill for 14 years. The agency was founded in Newburyport in 1974.

In 2004, the Summer Street site had five staff members serving 19 people. The site now serves 42 people and has 15 staff members.

Harris-Fale said the expansion will allow the agency to serve nearly 100 people with 35 staff members by 2017.

“This major project makes me even prouder that Opportunity Works is recognized as one of the premier human service agencies in New England,” Harris-Fale said.

Fiorentini said he welcomes the new facility and is looking forward to the new jobs it will create during and after construction.

“Opportunity Works provides a much needed service to some of our residents and we appreciate the hard work that they do every day,” the mayor said.

In a prepared statement, state Rep. Brian Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the new building will “ensure Opportunity Works remains on the cutting edge of serving the growing numbers of our friends and neighbors who deserve our support every single day.

“The Commonwealth is grateful for nonprofit agencies like Opportunity Works that work so hard to fulfill that need,” Dempsey said. “Future partnership opportunities between the agency and the college will also be of tremendous mutual benefit to the city and the entire region.”

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