Chippewa River Industries empowers community members with disabilities


For 51 years, Chippewa River Industries has been helping empower locals with disabilities, or as we say those with different abilities, to live independently which includes getting a job.

They have a pretty big fundraising event coming up next week lined up with the Green Bay Packers.

As a part of the Packers Tailgate Tour, they’re teaming up CRI Friday, April 12 at Leinie’s Lodge. The money is going back to support CRI, so we wanted to meet a few employees making a difference in our community.

Shareece Olson and TJ Lane have both been employees for CRI for 13 years.

“I pretty much come to work with a positive and positive attitude,” Shareece said.

CRI’s employment network spans out across northwestern Wisconsin serving more than 500 people in a six-county region.

“Reaching up to Barron County and down to La Crosse County,” Dave Lemanski said, the president and CEO at CRI.

He says CRI has gone through an evolutionary process over the last decade-in-a-half. Their mission still standing strong: to help those with different abilities lead a more independent life.

“It’s difficult for anyone to get a job, we try not to focus on someone’s disability but their abilities,” Dave said. “That’s why we like to talk about people with different abilities. So, someone may not be good at putting a pen together, but they may be good at washing tables or helping stock shelves.”

So community members like Shareece or TJ, can have endless opportunities.

“It has been a challenging experience and it’s been an excellent experience for me.” Shareece added.

There are only a few tickets left for the Packers Tailgate Tour next Friday to support CRI.

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