About

Mission

To empower individuals with disabilities and those with barriers to work to achieve their highest level of employment and independence.

Achieve accomplishes our mission through its workforce development programs:
• Work Center Program
• Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT)
• Work Experience
• Mobile Work Crews
• Employment Programs

Work Center Program provides vocational/job readiness training, soft skills instruction, life skills education, and paid work opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enable them to acquire essential skills and achieve independence and work success.

Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) is curriculum-based instruction for high school special education transition students that includes 6 modules and targets self-awareness, soft skills, job preparation, work knowledge, disability disclosure, and money management and assists these students develop the necessary skills and competencies to succeed on the job and in the community.

Work Experience Training provides special education students with experience in a “real people doing real work” environment, and helps the student explore career options, develop employability skills, improve hard and soft skills, and build self-confidence. Achieve’s UNTWISE certified Job Skills Trainers work side by side with the student teaching work and soft skills, reinforcing skills, and establishing job accommodations.

Mobile Work Crews provide fleet car washing services as well as janitorial and landscaping services for local TXDOT offices.

Employment Program (Veteran, Non-Veteran, and Poverty Alleviation) provides comprehensive services to individuals with disabilities so that they can successfully obtain and maintain employment. Services include job readiness training, job placement, weekly support group, computer lab, employer education, retention services, and counseling/guidance. Through hands-on job preparation and job search assistance, trusted partnerships with area employers, and employer education and advocacy, Achieve’s Employment Program facilitates access to well-suited jobs for this vulnerable population to ensure placement and increase the likelihood of long-term success and job security.

History

Founded in 1951 as Children’s Development Center, a school and training center for children with intellectual disabilities, Achieve has a long history of serving individuals with disabilities in the Dallas area. The agency’s original purpose was to meet the scholastic and socialization needs of children with special needs. Through partnerships with Southern Methodist University, The University of North Texas (formerly North Texas State University), and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Children’s Development Center achieved a worldwide reputation as a leader in the field of educating children with disabilities and was renowned as pioneers in programming that facilitated the integration of individuals with disabilities into society. In 1981, we redirected our program focus from the education of children with disabilities, now a federally mandated public school responsibility, to serving adults with disabilities. We took over the operation of the Dallas Work Opportunity and Retraining Center, a struggling vocational training center, and changed our name to Citizens Development Center. In 1987, at United Way’s request, we acquired a second struggling agency. In 2009, we expanded our employment services to include veterans with disabilities, and in 2015 we further expanded our services to veterans through a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission. Due to our success in serving and finding employment for veterans, this grant continues to be extended and increased. In 2016, we implemented a new program, Vocational Adjustment Training, for special education students preparing to transition out of high school. This program has rapidly grown from teaching 11 students in FY2016 to teaching 170 students in FY2018. We changed our name to Achieve in 2017 in order to better reflect our mission. Recent program expansions include a mobile car wash, poverty alleviation employment program, and staffing agency for persons with disabilities. Today, we continue to meet the ever-increasing needs of this population through our programs that last year provided vocational training, job readiness training, paid work opportunities, and community placement to over 900 youth and adults with severe intellectual, physical, and/or mental health disabilities.

Board of Directors - Executive Committee

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BENJAMIN P. BROWDER, President

Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP
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JASON NEIL JONES, Vice President

Chief Technology Officer, SimpleLTC Systems

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OBI CHUKWUMAH, Secretary

Commercial Relationship Manager – North Texas Region, BB&T

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KATHY STILL, Treasurer

Partner, Still | Burton LLP

Board of Directors

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ALLISON MCMAHON

Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell

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ARTHUR SANTA-MARIA

Senior Associate, Trammell Crow

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MATTHEW MILHAUSER

V.P. – Strategy & Innovation, Advantix Solutions Group

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LYNNE BARTUSEK

Chief Executive Officer, Bartusek Advisory Services, LLC

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RAY MARTINEZ

V.P. – Sales & Marketing, Akeepo

Management Team

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DIANE JONES - Associate Executive Director

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TIM ALLEN - Executive Director

Staff Members