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Our Philosophy

We believe that a person with a disability, whether physical or developmental, deserves to experience the dignity and self-respect .


The Progressive Workshop of Armstrong County, Inc. was formed in 1968 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to provide vocational rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.

Funding Sources

A major source of income for PWAC is from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) for waiver funding, Armstrong-Indiana Behavioral and Developmental Health Program (BDHP), and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).

A second source of income is through the industrial subcontract work, which pays participant wages and supplements our overhead expenses. Donations received and grant monies are used for renovations and toward to purchase of equipment used to further develop programming for our participants.

Eligibility Guidelines

Individuals seeking services must have a diagnosed physical, emotional, or developmental disability that hinders them from employment in the community. Individuals must be 18 years of age and be able to independently care for hygiene needs and possess independent mobility skills.

Referral and Application

The first step is to complete the referral form that can be found at the bottom of this page and then email, fax, or call to inform our Program Department that you are sending a referral.

After a referral is made and the funding source is established, an intake interview is conducted. At this intake, a variety of information is gathered and a starting date is determined. A current ISP (if applicable), physical exam document, and psychological evaluation is required for each participant before the start date.

Individuals are initially placed into work area that best suit their vocational and social skills according to the information gathered during the intake process. An initial assessment meeting is held within 60 days in order to get a better understanding of the individual’s work habits, likes, dislikes, strengths, and needs. The assessment enables us to reevaluate the individual’s needs and the team can make changes if necessary. Assessments are done on an annual basis thereafter.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

In compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare 2390 Regulations, quarterly and annual reviews are held to determine an individual’s progress, goals, and objectives. Each participant’s plan is revised at least once a year.

The goals and objectives of the program are to provide training activities that enable a participant to meet the demands of employment. By reviewing these areas, participants may have the potential to move higher in vocational training or receive Supportive Employment Services.

Handicapped Employment is another vocational program in which the participant does not require intensive rehabilitation/habilitation training in order to be at the facility. Reviews for this program are held on an annual basis.

Pre-Vocational Services

The Progressive Workshop is diversified and does not count on one contract to survive. By working for different companies, we can train individuals in a wide variety of tasks that incorporate different skill levels.

Work is based on a time study (using a piece rate) completed before the bid is submitted to the customer. This ensures that the participants are paid fairly and the customers are charged an equitable price for the work.

Transitional Work Services

Transitional Work services consist of supporting individuals in transition to integrated, competitive employment through work that occurs in a location outside of a licensed facility.

Transitional Work services options include:

  1. Mobile Work Force – A Mobile Work Force uses teams of individuals, supervised by a training/job supervisor, who conduct service activities away from an agency or facility. The provider agency contracts with an outside organization or business to perform maintenance, lawn care, janitorial services or similar tasks, and the individuals are paid by the provider.
  2. Work Station in Industry – A Work Station in Industry involves individual or group training of individuals at an industry site. Training is conducted by a provider training/job supervisor or by a representative of the industry and is phased out as the individual(s) demonstrates job expertise and meets established production rates.
  3. Affirmative Industry – Affirmative Industry is operated as an integrates business, where disabled and non-disabled employees work together to carry out the job function of the business.
  4. Enclave – An Enclave is a business model where disabled individuals are employed by a business/industry to perform specific job functions while working alongside non-disabled workers. The service also includes transportation that is an integral component of the service.

Supportive Employment Services

The goal of the Supportive Employment program is to develop an employment service systems in Armstrong and surrounding counties that would assist individuals with disabilities in attaining and maintaining a competitive, community based position.

PWAC has always had the philosophy of “moving people toward jobs”. Vocational training and job development allows us to make successful job matches.

With the use of an Employment Specialist, participants are aided with the job search as well as obtaining and securing employment. When needed, the specialist will act as a Job Coach and accompany the individual on the job site, helping them learn the job and performing the required duties. The Job Coach will start a fading process as the individual becomes comfortable with the job until services are no longer needed. Individuals can be referred directly to this program.


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