THE HISTORY OF
In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as president, the Korean War ended, and after debilitating tens of thousands of people, a polio vaccine was introduced. It was also the year a concerned group of community members, seeing the effects of the polio epidemic and injured veterans returning from war, started MRCI. An effort to help those finding themselves disabled adjust to life different then they had known before and experiencing barriers to community participation, MRCI was formed.
MRCI began as a physical therapy organization operated by volunteers. But within the decade, the focus changed to occupational therapy and later services expanded to include mental illness. Although locations and programs have changed over the last six decades, the mission has not. MRCI strives to provide innovative and genuine opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages to participate in their community. We have embraced change to stay true to that mission.
In the 60s, the Day Training and Habilitation (DT&H) program was established, which provided in-house services for individuals with developmental disabilities. At that same time, MRCI began center-based employment programs with community business partners. The MRCI Auxiliary established the Mankato Thrift Shop to help raise money for programs.
MRCI was one of the first organizations in the area to provide childcare services with the opening of “Open Arms” preschool. It was later transitioned to the school district. Also, by the late 70s MRCI began making plans to build a new facility in Mankato complete with computerization.
With a staff of more than 200, we empower more than 5,000 people annually.
By the 80s offices were established in Fairmont, New Ulm, Burnsville and Chaska. MRCI also developed a Welfare to Work program and a program performance evaluation system to ensure we were effectively meeting the expectations of our consumers.
In 1993, the Minnesota Association of Rehabilitation Facilities recognized MRCI by giving us the “Outstanding Rehabilitation Facility award.
In 1997, the Mankato Area Chamber of Commerce inducted MRCI into the Mankato Area Business Hall
Growth and change continued into
the 2000s: new locations included Rosemount and another in Mankato (East Park).
In 2004, MRCI launched its Client Directed Services division.
In 2011, Quality Products, our own candy company, was added to provide work for our clients. After fulfilling its purpose, Quality Products was sold in 2018.
Seeing a need to help clients transition from school or home to a work environment, the Bridge to the Future
and Track to Success programs were launched.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, MRCI utilized the opportunity to transition the organization to 100% community based: closing facilities and eliminating
work crews. January 18, 2021 was the first day for exclusively Community Based Day Services at MRCI.
At MRCI, the focus is on helping individuals become successful.
Since 1953, MRCI has focused on the disability services of adults by providing innovative employment programs that assist individuals in their achievement of personal goals.
By focusing on the people we serve through programs and individualized planning,
MRCI has continued to operate as a true leader in the field of adult rehabilitation.
MRCI is one of Minnesota's largest and most diverse providers of employment and day services. We are a private, nonprofit organization, that serves individuals in Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro Area.
Photos in the 70th Anniversary video collection, were prepared from the Archives at Minnesota State University, Mankato.