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Progress Industries sets records in 2012

With a name such as Progress Industries, it’s evident that the Newton organization is constantly and consistently moving forward in not only its programming, but in its quest to better serve individuals within our community.

Melissa Butler, communications director for P.I., outlined some of the most noteworthy successes and areas of positive growth the organization experienced over the course of 2012:

“One success was evident in P.I.’s Supported Employment Program,” Butler said of P.I.’s program that seeks to place individuals at jobs within the community that best meet their abilities and allow them to thrive in a workplace environment. “In 2012, we achieved a record number of community job placements – we had 30, which is pretty significant.”

“That number is really a testament to everyone in this community and its willingness to hire people,” Dave McClurg, P.I.’s Vice President of Operations, added. “We’ve always liked the idea and we’re certainly committed to to having as many people working in the community as possible.”

In addition, McClurg acknowledged that P.I’s stakeholder satisfaction rating has been consistently positive.

“Once a year we survey stakeholders – the people we serve, their families and those who fund us – to see, by and large, how P.I. is doing and the results are always very good,” he said.  

P.I. doesn’t only ensure a positive environment for its clients, however. In 2012, Progress Industries was named one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Iowa by ? Workplaces were honored following a series of survey taken by the employees of various companies ranking areas such as compensation and benefits, company leadership and workplace flexibility. 

“It’s all about the people,” McClurg said of the Top Workplace designation. It’s not any one of us, it’s really a tribute to everybody.” 

According to Butler, flagship P.I. initiatives, such as the opportunity for area elementary school students to tour the facility, have continued to be a success. 

“We had another year of second grade tours and we’re gearing up again for those in April,” she said of the program. “The goal is develop a more accepting community and we’ve been very successful with that. They get the chance to learn a little sign language, they learn to manuever a wheelchair – which they love – and learn what it might be like to have dyslexia. It’s really been a good thing.”

The Aktion Club has been active as ever, she added.

“Any funds the group raises are given back into the community,” Butler said. “They held a food drive for Salvation Army at the end of the year and donated to St. Nick’s Christmas Club among other endeavors.” 

New for 2012 was the compilation and publishing of the Aktion Club Cookbook, which served as a fundraiser during the holiday season.

“They were responsible for collecting all the recipes for their cookbook choosing which recipes would make the cut,” Butler explained. “They have sold all but about 20 copies out of several hundred copies produced.”

Perhaps most central to the changes that have taken place at Progress Industries over the past 12 months has been a revision of the organization’s mission statement.

“One of our many accomplishments this year was the revision of our mission, vision and values to better reflect where we are as an agency and where we plan to go in the future,” Butler said. More information as to P.I’s changes can be found to the (direction).


Overall, Dan Skokan, Progress Industries President and CEO, believes that his organization is moving in the right direction despite recent legislative hurdles.

“The mental health system is going through a redesign but we’ve been able to navigate the stormy waters,” Skokan said. “There have been a lot of unknowns but we have a real good team that knows hhow to work together with the system.”

“Our name really speaks to the progress we like to see in the people we serve,” he added. “We don’t maintain the status quo, we strive to get better and create a spirit of progress, not just with our employees but the people we serve as well in an effort to make their lives better and more meaningful. It’s all about the progress we make with people to create a sense of meaning and value in their lives.”

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