TRICO work continues but not the wood shop operations

The Board of Directors and I announced to our employees last week that TRICO Opportunities Inc. will soon cease production of commercial wood products in our wood products manufacturing facility. A stepped shutdown of the shop operations has been initiated and we implemented initial layoffs in the wake of that decision. It is important to us that we share this news and the basis for that very difficult decision with you as directly and as quickly as possible so that we may dispel rumors regarding TRICO’s future and reframe the conversation to reflect the long-range positive changes this will open up for TRICO, our employees, the persons with disabilities that we serve and for our communities at large.

Be assured, TRICO is NOT closing. Our agency and mission to provide vocational rehabilitation, skill-building, community-based employment and support services to persons with disabilities will continue. Our recycling, confidential document destruction operations, contract work, and our supported employment programming in both Dickinson and Iron counties are not affected by this decision regarding the wood shop. In fact, it is our commitment to TRICO’s future and fulfilling our mission that was the foundation for this decision. We’ve chosen to sustain our agency and TRICO’s work over continuing to run a commercial wood products operation in an industry where we can’t be competitive. We can now more fully turn our attention, expertise and resources to building and improving the impact of our work by fostering the employer and community relationships that will create the integrated, community-based employment and engagement opportunities for persons with disabilities that we envision.

We continue to actively seek new owners for the wood shop facility; employer-owners who support our mission and programming, and whom we would consider partners in the work of integrating persons with disabilities into community-based employment, including there. No definitive timeline for a full shut-down of the shop has been established, but closure shortly after the end of the April is likely; that will ultimately be dependent on our success in transitioning the operations we’ve had there. We are currently working with a limited crew to fulfill remaining production commitments, and are hopeful that shortly thereafter we will have options in place to make a transition.

TRICO’s operation of the wood shop will cease completely at some point in the near future, but TRICO’s work will continue. We’re working diligently to make that change a beginning for new opportunities and new horizons for employees and program participants alike. We’ll do our best to keep our supporters and community partners informed of major developments in this transition, and we welcome opportunities to hear your concerns during this process. Be assured, maintaining TRICO’s long-standing commitment to deliver quality vocational training, skill building and support services, and to remaining a vital partner in our communities, remains at the forefront of our efforts.

Your support as we work to new possibilities is appreciated.