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State Seal Workforce Investment, Department for
Louisville-based center for the blind celebrates milestone
Press Release Date:  November 5, 2004
Contact:  Mary Ann Scott (502) 564-6606    

The only center in Kentucky dedicated solely to helping people who are blind or have severe visual impairments lead more independent lives and retain or obtain employment celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday.
The Charles W. McDowell Rehabilitation Center, located in Louisville, was named after the late Charles W. McDowell. He was the first executive director of what is today known as the state’s Office for the Blind (OFB). The McDowell Center is part of OFB, an agency of the Education Cabinet’s Department for Workforce Investment.

Among those recognizing the center’s milestone was Laura E. Owens, commissioner of the Department for Workforce Investment. “During the 16 years of his leadership, it was Mr. McDowell’s great desire to see a rehabilitation center built that would provide a wide array of services to all blind and visually impaired Kentuckians … for a specific purpose,” said Owens. “McDowell was focused on and dedicated to training and services that would lead to meaningful employment and a lifestyle of independence.”

Stephen Johnson, OFB executive director, spoke about how the center has offered hope to thousands of Kentuckians. “OFB and the center served 2,784 Kentuckians during the past federal fiscal year, but that is not just a number. It represents lives touched by this agency. It’s about restoring hope,” said Johnson. “Charles McDowell passed away in 1992 … he did not see the center completed. But he was the one who lobbied and worked to get it built, and it is fitting that it bears his name.”
The 44,000 square-foot center, which has residential, dormitory-style rooms for those who can’t commute, offers a variety of services to its consumers. Those include personal adjustment, such as reading Braille and orientation and mobility; career exploration and development, including classes in 17 different subject areas; assistive technology, such as screen readers, which help consumers view text on computer monitors; and independent living, such as home maintenance and cooking.

For more information about the center’s services, call 1-800-346-2115 or visit the center’s Web site by going to the Office for the Blind Web site and scrolling down to the McDowell Center link on the right-hand side of the page.

The Kentucky Education Cabinet coordinates learning programs from P-16 and manages and supports training and employment functions in the Department for Workforce Investment. For more information about our programs, visit or, or call 502-564-6606.



Last updated: Monday, November 08, 2004