Reach, Inc. is pleased to announce the hiring of James Thomas as Director of Human Resources. Jim began his duties at Reach on January 5th, 2015.
Jim grew up on a small town in upstate New York. He attended college at Norwich University, Vermont, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Army. The next 21 years he traveled around the world, in numerous Army assignments. His overseas assignments included Panama, Germany and Korea.
His last assignment was as an instructor at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While in the Army, he earned his Master’s Degree in Management from Florida Institute of Technology. After retiring from the Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Jim moved to Wisconsin with his family and settled down in Chippewa Falls. Jim worked at United Healthcare as a Compliance Trainer. He then began working with CEVA (TNT) Logistics in Menomonie, WI as an Operations Manager, then Safety & Training Manager and eventually as Human Resource Manager. He has also taught at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) as an Adjunct Instructor. Jim has been a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) since 2007. Jim is married and has two grown daughters. He enjoys running, cross country skiing and gardening in his free time.
Jim replaces Heidi Colonna, who took a position with Chippewa Pharmacy, Inc. Heidi worked for Reach for the prior 20 years.
Opportunity Development Centers Inc., or ODC, was awarded Thursday a $57,435 Fast Forward grant for worker training.
The ODC grant, included in $600,000 of grants to help people with disabilities across the state, is part of Gov. Scott Walker’s $35.4 million Wisconsin Fast Forward — Blueprint for Prosperity initiative.
The initiative invests in worker training to move Wisconsin’s working families along a path toward greater prosperity and independence, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“I am pleased to announce additional support to prepare more than 200 workers with disabilities for careers across Wisconsin,” Walker said in the release. “Not only will this help workers, but with their diverse strengths and skills, it will improve a company’s bottom line and spur economic growth.”
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU)- An uncertain future lies ahead for hundreds of employees with special needs in the Chippewa Valley.
A new federal ruling is changing funding for sheltered work centers. The ruling encourages states to use funds from Medicaid to take workers out of the centers and place them in community jobs instead. But opponents are afraid those community jobs won't be there or won't be safe.
There are several businesses in the Chippewa Valley including Chippewa River Industries or CRI and Reach Inc. that provide a safe work environment for people with cognitive disabilities.
"In any given day we are serving about 130 people a day just here in this building and 100 people out in the community," CEO of CRI Dave Lemanski said.