Monday, November 21st, 2022

St. Marys nonprofit moves into new HQ

By Bob Tomaszewski
Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

St. Marys-based Capabilities welcomed the public with an open house at their new headquarters at 809 McKinley Road. The new space is roughly 10 times bigger than previous locations in town.

ST. MARYS - Capabilities, the nonprofit group that helps people with disabilities find employment, recently moved to a new state headquarters at 809 E. McKinley Road in St. Marys. The move comes as Capabilities celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The group held an open house Friday.
The new building offers 20,000 square feet, said founder Karen Blumhorst. Blumhorst runs Capabilities with her husband Bill.
The new location is significantly larger than previous headquarters, she said. There is space for 45 cubicles and offices, Blumhorst said. She said 60 of the group's 190 employees will work in St. Marys. The rest of Capabilities' workforce will be at locations in Lima, Toledo and Dayton.
A new Capabilities office will open in Zanesville next month, Blumhorst said.
Blumhorst said Capabilities bought the St. Marys building - formerly a Tri-Star vocational center - at auction. "We bought this building about a year and a half ago," Blumhorst said. Since then, Capabilities has worked with Garmann Miller, the architecture firm, and Baumer Construction to get the headquarters in shape. Both firms are in Minster.
Blumhorst said she opened Capabilities as a job developer and a job coach and over the years they have expanded vocational services. "I taught 18-22-year-olds," Blumhorst said. "Most students just needed a transition, they needed jobs."
Today, 70% of Capabilities work comes from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Blumhorst said. Another 20% comes from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Capabilities also has a contract with ODOT to maintain one of the Circleville rest areas and has a contract with Clark County Jobs and Family Services to supply computer training and resume writing classes.
Blumhorst said Capabilities in St. Marys is a Bureau of Motor Vehicles exam station, part of a pilot project since August. It is open to the public by appointment.
Driving instructor manager Bryan Lynch said Ohio passed a law two years ago that allow third-party entities to contract with the BMV to conduct driving tests.
"It took about another year and a half for the administrative rules to be put into place to allow us to do it," Lynch said.
"Our immediate design was to provide testing for our students," Lynch said. "We provide driver's education to predominantly individuals with disabilities," Lynch said. Lynch said the traditional BMV experience can be difficult for students with autism or anxiety. Capabilities' goal is to provide a fair, ethical, friendly and positive test experience, he said.
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