BAWAC began in 1973 serving 15 clients in an abandoned school basement in Covington, but rapidly grew and scaled up to a new 10,000 square foot building in the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park in Florence. Throughout the years BAWAC has expanded and developed new programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities and/or barriers to employment in our community, and we have had a meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of incredibly gifted individuals and their trusting families. Both in and outside the doors of BAWAC on any given work day our adult clients realize their full vocational potential. A day with us is the means for an active lifestyle, improved self-worth, community interaction, and the social connection on which our clients thrive. Beyond the purpose of a person’s vocation and the powerful outcomes provided by employment, our programs provide a safe and secure environment – a trusted place where client families know their loved one is professionally cared for each day.
Subcontracted work for business was a novel concept at our start. We did pallet repair and small parts assembly, manufactured ceramic items, and assembled skate wheel conveyors. Today we run a myriad of jobs for a wide variety of manufacturers. Contracts with area businesses enable BAWAC to provide diverse production work experiences through assembling, collating, packaging, bagging, sealing, building, and repairing.
We led the way in Supported Employment, starting the first such program in Kentucky, placing persons with disabilities into competitive jobs with job coaching. Similarly, we collaborate with special education programs in the school-to-work transition and have developed a partnership with NKU’s Norse Project SEARCH.
Our transportation department, almost overnight, ramped up capacity to accommodate over a hundred clients who were stranded at the closure of a van service in 2015. We started out with only three old vans in 2006, but our fleet has grown to over 40 vehicles providing daily access from home to programs and employment for Medicaid waiver eligible consumers in six counties. We are also proud to serve Medicaid eligible individuals by providing non-emergency medical runs through NKADD and FTSB in the Northern Kentucky region.
BAWAC’s journey has taken some remarkable twists and turns, but our founder and President Ken Schmidt has remained resolute at the helm. Thanks to our exceptional and dedicated staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, business customers and supporters and despite changes in policies, laws, regulations, and funding – we continue to survive and thrive!
WHO WE ARE
BAWAC, Inc., was established to serve people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through rehabilitation and employment opportunities. The vehicle for rehabilitation is the work itself. BAWAC also serves the business and industrial community by providing an appropriately skilled workforce, production and manufacturing services.