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History

Didlake has grown from humble beginnings into a respected resource for people with disabilities.

1965 Frustrated by laws prohibiting children with disabilities from attending public schools, a group of parents in Manassas, VA sells fireworks from a roadside stand to raise money for a private school. The Didlake School is established with an initial 16 students.
1972 Didlake School, Inc. becomes incorporated with 32 students.
1974 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) approved by Congress, making special education available at public schools.
1975 Didlake turns over its building and 34 students to local public schools who have formed Special Education programs. Didlake Work Activities Center starts “STEP UP,” a vocational program for its 16 former students who are now beyond school age.
1977 Rexford G. Parr begins as CEO and President. The organization’s name is changed to Didlake Occupational Center and the organization launches its first social enterprise—a mailing business that provides jobs for 16 adults with disabilities. The annual operating budget $65,000.
1981 Didlake establishes an electronics assembly business that provides for 20 new workers. Competitive job placement services are launched.
1986 Didlake wins one of the first supported employment grants in a national “systems change” initiative launched by the federal government’s Rehabilitative Services Agency. Four similar grants soon follow supporting Didlake’s new emphasis on individual job placement for people with disabilities and community-based mobile crews and enclaves.
1988 Didlake builds a 12,000 sq. ft. facility on Breeden Avenue, Manassas, VA. That year the organization serves 157 people with disabilities, including 37 individuals who secure competitive jobs in the community. In April, Didlake becomes incorporated.
1991 Didlake, Inc. takes over the micrographics and mailing operations of Alexandria Center for Employment, Inc. (ACE) in Alexandria, VA.
1992 Under the AbilityOne Program (then known as the Javits-Wagner-O’Day or JWOD Act), Didlake, Inc. wins custodial services contracts at the Pentagon and Army National Guard. Didlake also begins a commercial contract, maintaining the Manassas Mall.
1994 Didlake, Inc. provides jobs for 250 people with disabilities and supports 45 consumers in competitive employment with an annual operating budget is $5.2 million.
1996 Didlake, Inc. receives the “NISH (formerly National Industries for the Severely Handicapped) Performance in Excellence Award” for its outstanding work on government contracts. The organization merges with FORE Consulting, Inc. of Remington, VA. Didlake launches its Community Inclusion Program (CIP) to promote the upward mobility of people with disabilities.
1999 CARF accreditation is awarded to four Didlake Rehabilitation services recognizing the organization for meeting the rigorous guidelines for service and quality set forth by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

 

Since 1965, Didlake has provided opportunities for people with disabilities.

2000 Didlake, Inc. manages three work centers, 10 JWOD contracts and provides services to nearly 600 people with disabilities.
2003 The Roanoke Valley recruits Didlake to establish a Community Inclusion Program in their local community. The first program opens on Thirlane Road and is quickly followed by the establishment of additional Community Inclusion Programs in Rocky Mount, VA and at another location in Roanoke.
2005 Didlake acquires Diversified Industrial Concepts, Inc. of Virginia Beach, VA. The acquisition includes multiple AbilityOne contracts and an additional 200 jobs for people with disabilities.
2008 Didlake acquires Commonwealth Support Systems, Inc. of Virginia Beach, VA, adding rehabilitation services to its capabilities in the Greater Hampton Roads area. Didlake now serves 1,500 people with disabilities.