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Employing people living with a disability is the mission at Maine Woodworks

Maine Woodworks in Saco makes sure half of its workforce is made up of people living with a physical, or mental disability.

SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A wood shop in Saco has had a social mission since opening 27 years ago.

Like the well experienced team they are, the workers at Maine Woodworks in Saco keep their heads down and their focus on the task at hand. The staff of 15 make some of the best handcrafted wood furniture in the state. For every artisan and carpenter you see building shelves, drawers and beds there's another worker who happens to be living with a disability.

"We see opportunity and we like to look at what people are capable of, instead of what people aren't capable of," said Dave Gallati, director of operations.

Maine Woodworks is a social enterprise of the non-profit called Creative Work Systems. The wood shop employs an integrated workforce of both people with and without disabilities. One worker who benefits from that is Scott Bogdahn. The 57-year-old took a job at Maine Woodworks 23 years ago. He clocks in for his seven hour shift every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday earning a pay check and the pride that comes after a hard days work.

"It's good. Handicapped people have to work hard to keep their living," said Bogdahn.

The opportunities offered in the wood shop deserve recognition, but take a walk around the room and you forget about the disabilities that exist. The hard work and beautiful creations become the focus. Proof that the mission of Creative Work Systems and Maine Woodworks is working for everyone.

"Everybody takes the same sense of responsibility, has the same kind of commitment and derives the same pride from what they create here together," said Heidi Howard, executive director for Creative Work Systems.

To find a retailer that sells Maine Woodworks furniture, or a listing of job opportunities, click here.

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