Eagan nonprofit moves Burnsville center to Apple Valley
Eagan-based nonprofit Lifeworks Services plans to close its Burnsville facility and move its operations to Apple Valley.
Lifeworks, a nonprofit that provides enrichment programs and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, made the move to obtain a larger, more accommodating space, said Judy Lysne, president and CEO.
“We noticed there are people who have been with us since the early days who are now older adults who need additional support,” Lysne said.
The $3.3 million facility at Upper 147th Street West and Johnny Cake Ridge Road will have overhead wheelchair lifts, a fitness center and a space dedicated to those with autism, among other amenities.
The move will also provide the nonprofit a cost-effective option as its grant money became more sparse with the economy, Lysne said.
Lifeworks also chose to move the center to Apple Valley for its rich culture.
“We are working to de-emphasize the centers by working more outside in the community,” she said. “And there’s so much our clients can do in Apple Valley.”
A ground-breaking ceremony was held March 14. The building is scheduled to open this fall.
Lifeworks operates centers in Burnsville, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Hastings, Mankato, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The nonprofit was founded in Rosemount in 1965 by a group of parents who yearned for more educational opportunities for their disabled children.
“Their goal was to keep their children at home instead of in an institution,” Lysne said.
By 1973, the organization began offering opportunities for adults as the nation began to deinstitutionalize people.
Lifeworks began to shift its focus entirely to adults in 1988 when public schools created special education programs.
“Our mission is that the community and people with disabilities can live and work together,” Lysne said.
Today Lifeworks provides services for 2,250 adults with disabilities.
Like many nonprofits in the nation, Lifeworks has felt the weight of the Great Recession and slow recovery. The nonprofit lost some job opportunities for its clients as businesses ceased hiring.
“We fortunately have been able to replace employers faster than we lose them,” Lysne said. “But we are always looking for new job opportunities in Burnsville and Apple Valley.”