Our History



The overall mission of C.M.S.E., is to provide people with severe disabilities in the Central Missouri area with the vocational training and employment opportunities that will help them achieve and maintain the most normal and satisfying quality of life that they are capable of during their adult life.


Sheltered Workshop legislation, better known as Senate Bill 52, (RSMo 178.900 – 178.930) was initially developed by several concerned parents and actually drafted by a C.M.S.E. parent, the late Frank Ackerman, in early 1965. This legislation provided the authority for state funding to help set up and provide staff support for the sheltered workshops throughout the state of Missouri. These workshops were developed as a way to provide employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities. Today there are 93 sheltered workshops in the state of Missouri that employ over 8000 disabled adults and generate over $70 million in contract revenue annually.


Initially in Columbia, the workshop was established by Woodhaven Learning Center along with several other local associations and agencies, including the Boone County United Cerebral Palsy Association, Boone County Association for Retarded Citizens, and the University Committee on Mental Retardation. In 1969, the Workshop began operation with 15 employees and two paid staff members, one volunteer and a production income of $8000. On June 19, 1979, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of Woodhaven Boone County Extended Employment Workshop to Central Missouri Sheltered Enterprises.


The first sustaining contract was procured from McGraw-Edison in the fall of 1970. The contract was for the hankering of electrical appliance cords. The workshop also began its printing of cards using silk screen. In July of 1972 the workshop received a grant from the Developmental Disabilities Council. This grant was to pay for 75% of the cost of a truck, an “L” sealer, and shrink tunnel, and 75% of the salary of a truck driver-supervisor for one year. With this aid the workshop was able to procure several new contracts and employ an additional 22 workers with disabilities.


In 1981 the workshop procured a contract with 3M Company to hand assemble electrical connectors. This contract allowed CMSE to substantially increase its workforce and significantly improved production income. A contract with Vickers Inc. to warehouse and assemble seal Kits was also responsible for allowing the workshop to hire additional employees. In January of 1981, Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises with the aid of a $40,000 county community block grant purchased the existing building from Woodhaven Learning Center for $125,000. In September 1984 a 5000 square foot edition was completed on the north side of the building at a cost of $90,000. In 1999 the workshop embarked on a capital campaign, “Workforce 2000” to raise funds for a new warehouse addition and a new break room. The campaign was a success, and in fact generated in excess of $650,000 toward this building project. The building project was completed in November 2001. It allowed CMSE to hire many of the people who were on the workshop’s wait list.


In 2004, C.M.S.E. celebrated its 35-year anniversary with a name change. Our former name, Central Missouri Sheltered Enterprises was changed to Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises. This was a result of a long range planning session in which our employees decided to take the name “sheltered” out of the workshop’s name.


Currently the Sheltered workshop’s major contractors include

3-M Company, Battenfeld Technologies, CenturyLink, Group Schneider, Industrial Textiles, Miller Imaging, Nasopure, Otscon, Paternity testing and the University of Missouri. Prior to the 2009 recession (depression), C.M.S.E. completed over $980,000 worth of contract work (2007-08). The Companies listed above provide the sub-contracts, which enable the workshop to provide work experiences to over 130 Boone County residents with disabilities each year.


Although many of C.M.S.E.’s employees are currently unable to successfully work in competitive employment in the community, it must be pointed out that during the last 4 to 5 years over 30 employees have developed the work and social skills necessary to move on into competitive or supported employment. Several years ago, C.M.S.E. expanded employment opportunities to its employees by providing employment services in the community. This program had allowed employees to go to work at a job site with the support of a C.M.S.E. staff member. This is an exciting program, which has provided many opportunities for a number of C.M.S.E.’s employees.


 One of these sites includes a company called Otscon, which manufactures components for the Nissan, Camary and Isuzu

automobile lines. Another site is at Paternity Testing where several employees perform janitorial duties. Currently, C.M.S.E. has 8 employees who are working at Otscon job site and four at the Paternity Testing Job site. Securing employment opportunities in an industrial typesetting has been difficult for many of the supported employment providers in Columbia; however, since C.M.S.E. has already developed a relationship with many of these companies, we believe that this may prove to be a great opportunity for many of those employees who enjoy this type of work. In late 1998, C.M.S.E. was one of the first organizations in the state to begin providing supported employment services through the Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) Medicaid Waiver program.


During the last several years, C.M.S.E. has also begun working with persons with more severe disabilities who had previously been enrolled in day programs. (Costing taxpayers approximately $15,000. per person annually). Through a new training program developed by the workshop and supported through Central Missouri Regional Center, additional staff have been hired to provide intensive training and support for these individuals. This has allowed them the opportunity to work, pay taxes, and be productive citizens while also saving the state thousands of dollars in expenses.


Currently, Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises receives approximately $19.00 per day from the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide staff support for most of its employees. This support makes up less than 20% of the Sheltered Workshop’s total income. The majority of the income needed for the day-to-day operations comes from the contract work it completes for local area businesses. C.M.S.E.’s subcontract income has increased significantly over the last few years from $293,000 in 1993 to well over $850,000 in 2007 and 2008. Our best year to date was 2001 at which time we surpassed 1 million in annual sales.


In early 2009 C.M.S.E. lost work from one of its major contractors who had to pull work back in house to keep their own employees busy, resulting in a net loss of over $600,000 of contract work. As a result, other business opportunities were explored. After extended research and planning the board approved the start up of a greenhouse/nursery business to help supplement the contract income and allow the workshop to be less dependent on other


companies. C.M.S.E Giving Gardens opened for business on 4-15-10. This has provided many job opportunities and in fact it is actually therapeutic in nature for many of our employees.


C.M.S.E. works closely with Columbia Public Schools (Battle, Hickman, Rockbridge) who bring students to CMSE each day to acclimate them to the work environment. These are students that CPS has determined are not quite ready/or require more supports that are typically available (through Vocational Rehabilitation) to work in competitive employment. CPS typically places their students on the wait list during their junior year (2 years before graduation) to help insure placement after graduation.


The Board of Directors at C.M.S.E. consists of from 13 to 15 volunteer members, drawn from the business community, parents and other concerned citizens from the community. Board members serve a 3-year term. Currently the workshop staff consists of 13 Supervisors, a Bookkeeper, a receptionist and a Director. Our administrative cost are less than 10%, which is well below the norm for most other non-for-profit organizations such as us.

Copyright © 2005-2018 Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises.
4040 S Bearfield Rd · PO Box 10147 · Columbia, MO 65205-4002 · Office: (573) 442-6935

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