06/08/05 — Chance named opportunity center director

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Chance named opportunity center director

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on June 8, 2005 1:45 PM

John Chance has been named the new director of the Wayne Opportunity Center, which provides adult developmental vocational training to about 60 people.

Chance served as interim director following the death of Carol Bender from cancer in December. She was director of the facility for 14 years.

Chance, 44, previously worked at the center for 11 years as its program manager. Then he left for four years, spending three years at O'Berry Center as its special therapy coordinator and one year as Wayne County's register of deeds.

He returned last December to take over as program manager once again.

Chance said the center is looking to increase the number of contracts it has with businesses and agencies.

The center has recently started a recycling program with the county school system, picking up paper and cardboard and baling it. Chance said he hopes to add Wayne Community College and several medical and law offices to the program.

The center recently was approved for a grant to purchase a shredder so clients can shred paper and documents and bale them in one operation.

"We're hoping to pick up some contracts from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in the area of document destruction," Chance said.

Chance also is submitting a proposal to take over Eastpointe's adult developmental vocational program at the old Wayne Community College campus.

"We will keep it at its current location and maintain the same staff," said Chance. "Our clients will benefit from some of what that program does, such as its greenhouse program, mobile work crew and self-help and daily living activities.

"In the same token, we want to bring some of its clients in and give them some opportunity to do some work and actually make money. Right now they are very limited on what they can do to make money and we want to give all of them the opportunity to make money."

Chance hopes to secure contracts with the National Institute for Severely Handicapped.

"There are certain contracts with the federal government that are set aside for handicapped people," he said. "And NISH is the broker for those contracts. We've never had any of those contracts here before."

Chance said the Wayne Opportunity Center is vital to Wayne County. The center's aim is to help people with a handicap or disability enter the workforce. He said the center places about 50 people a year in jobs in local businesses.

Chance is a Wayne County native and holds a master's degree in special education from East Carolina University. He and wife, Sue, have two children.