During the 1969 legislative session the state legislature passed LB 855 to establish the six regions of the State’s Community Based Service System for persons with developmental disabilities. In 1970 ENCOR was started as the first community-based program in Nebraska and one of the first in the United States. It was a comprehensive service system with the parent group assuming advisory and advocacy roles rather than service provision. Vocational services were provided to 60 individuals initially and from there services expanded to include residential and educational services.
In the early 1970’s ENCOR vocational services expanded to include settings in five counties. Three were established in Omaha, one in Bellevue, one in Fremont, and one was eventually added in Blair in 1998.
ENCOR was the first to develop the Workstation-In-Industry or WSI concept in 1971. This concept gave individuals the option to be employed in a local business location with ENCOR staff providing supervision and work skills development. The first WSI was located at the Lozier’s Corporation and is still in operation today. Since WSI locations have expanded to include Lynn Roberts International and Valmont Industries.
Starting in 1973 ENCOR’s educational services were phased out after the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 403 which required special education to be made available throughout the Nebraska public education system.
In 1984, ENCOR’s Medical Support Unit or MSU opened. Previously known as the Developmental Maximation Unit, MSU became the only known community-based program of its kind in the country, as a licensed home located in a neighborhood setting. The MSU provides 24-hour medical care for children, adolescents and adults with a Registered Nurse on duty at all times.
Since its inception in 1970 ENCOR has continued to expand by providing other unique services. In 1990 the Central Area Recycling Exchange (CARE) was opened at 49th and Izard, and Options North opened in 1995 offering services to people who have specialized habilitation needs. The Jerry Graesser Center opened in 2001 providing say services for individuals needing medical support. In 2005 ENCOR opened the Life Choices Center offering retirement and other related activities to older persons. In 2010, ENCOR opened its second Medical Support Unit in Northwest Omaha.
Most recently ENCOR has opened a second day service location in Bellevue known as the “HUB” that focuses on community inclusion and giving back. Individuals spending their days there participate in a number of community engagement and volunteer opportunities including the Open Door Mission, Bellevue Food Bank, Lauritzen Gardens, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and many more.