Many of the hundreds of intellectually disabled workers at Opportunity Village were dealt a bad hand in life, according to the nonprofit’s executive director, Ed Guthrie.
Thankfully, he said, they’re all very good poker players.
“Everybody here makes the best of the hand they’re dealt. That’s why we cut checks for 1,800 people every two weeks,” Guthrie explained at the grand opening of the nonprofit’s newest employment training center in North Las Vegas. “Everybody loves getting a paycheck. It means the same to them as it does to you and I. Everybody feels the same sense of pride and purpose that comes with having a job.”
The nonprofit spent more than a year securing a rental lease for its location at 4180 W. Craig Road, a 28,000-square-foot facility with room for two classrooms and more than 150 assembly line workers.
Guthrie said the location holds plenty of advantages for the hundreds of Opportunity Village employees who live in and around North Las Vegas, including easy bus access and on-site showers.
That’s not least among the reasons he has bigger plans for the nonprofit’s presence north of Carey Avenue.
“Most of our locations are a little more physically isolated, and bus transportation will be a lot easier here,” Guthrie said.
“For now, we’re going to rent this for five years, but during that time period we’ll be looking for land for a permanent facility, and the mayor and the City Council have committed to helping us do that.”
Opportunity Village, which directly employs more than 250 special needs workers and offers local job training and placement services to nearly 500 others in the Las Vegas Valley, already operates three similar employment training centers in Southern Nevada.
Workers at those locations clean more than 3 million square feet of office space, clinics, community centers and parking lots every year and have built everything from Elvis-themed scarves to buttons for Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential campaign.
Workers at the new North Las Vegas campus have been hard at work filling packaging and assembly line contracts with Chili’s restaurants, HMS Host and Bellagio since May.
Guthrie said those employees with more severe disabilities, who work with the organization’s Enable and Pride programs, plan to volunteer with North Las Vegas’ Adopt-a-Park program and to pitch in on a handful of other community projects.
That level of involvement has won plaudits from city leaders, including praise from three of five sitting City Council members who made an appearance at the employment training center’s July 9 grand opening.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown, one of those in attendance, was impressed by the organization’s fourth facility.
She said she couldn’t wait to see what Guthrie and the rest of Opportunity Village had in store.
“I met with them in the initial planning stages when I first came on the board, and I’m just really excited to be here today,” Goynes-Brown said. “I know they could use somewhere around 45 or 50,000 square feet for an expansion that has housing, so I’m hopeful we’re going to be able to find that kind of space for them.”
For more information on the nonprofit’s North Las Vegas location, visit opportunityvillage.org or contact 702-262-1560.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.