MRC: Putting Abilities to Work
Purpose - History - Information

 Although MRC changed its name from McKercher Rehabilitation Center about 20 years ago, our mission has not changed. We've always been geared to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness. MRC offers individualized skill building, advocacy and a broad array of services and programs that promote productivity, independence, integration and a sense of self-respect for persons with disabilities.

                                           MRC's Mission

MRC INDUSTRIES, INC. provides supports and accommodations that assist individuals to be productive, independent and involved members of their communities.

                                         History & Information

MRC Industries, Inc. serves individuals with developmental or learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, emotional impairments and mental illness. The organization began in the 1940s when a group of parents took the initiative to provide alternatives for their disabled children.

Incorporating officially in 1969, MRC has remained close to its family roots while evolving into a non-profit agency that administers innovative and diverse services through its programs: McKercher Services, Pathways Clubhouse, Connections, and BridgeWays.

MRC’s service philosophy is that every person is unique, valuable, and entitled to be treated with respect and dignity. Person-centered programs and services focus on individual needs, desires, strengths and abilities, supporting people to become independent—at home, at work and in the community.

In all programs and services, MRC’s highly trained staff members have made a career choice to work with people with disabilities. They are skilled, committed individuals who enjoy having caring and respectful personal relationships with the people they serve.

MRC is a 501(c)3 organization. Funding sources include individual donor contributions, community-wide fundraising events, federal, state and local grants, Community Mental Health, Medicaid, the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, fees for services, and gifts to the Annual Campaign and Endowment.

                             A Detailed History of MRC Industries

  • 1940’s - Small schools for children with mental retardation are begun by concerned parents.

  • 1950’s – Programs merge into the Kalamazoo School for Retarded Children with the support of the Kellogg Foundation and Community Chest. 

  • 1960’s – The school moves to the old Hoover School in Comstock.

  • 1965 – First industrial contracts for the Kalamazoo School for Retarded Children come from the Shakespeare Co. and the Upjohn Co. (Public Schools begin offering Special Education Classes.)

  • 1969 – McKercher Rehabilitation Center incorporates to provide vocational services for adults with disabilities.

  • 1970’s – McKercher begins offering a wide range of production services such as assembly, sorting, collating, packaging, drilling, machinery and woodworking.  Rehabilitation services were funded by the Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health Board.

  • Mid 1970’s – The McKercher Non-Profit Housing Corporation is formed to operate three group homes, Stanton House, Douglas House and Hoard Manor.  Residential Opportunities Incorporated is formed to manage these group homes and develop others.

  • 1981 – McKercher Rehabilitation Center purchases the Shakespeare building at 205 E. Water Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • 1982 – Both programs are consolidated at Water Street location.

  • 1983 – MRC Industries, Inc. is adopted as the official name to reflect the desire for a higher profile within the business community.

  • 1985 – Pilot program begins to provide supported employment.

  • Late 1980’s – MRC receives grants from the Developmental Disabilities Council, Michigan Rehabilitative Services and Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health to expand it’s supported employment programs.

  • 1991 – MRC moves to a new location at 1310 Bank Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • MRC becomes administrator for Pathways, a membership organization for individuals with mental illness.

  • 1994 – MRC wins grant to begin School-To-Work employment services for young adults with disabilities.

  • MRC celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

  • 1995 – Bank Street facility expands with new storage building.

  • 1996 – MRC purchases 119 W. Vine building for Pathways.

  • 1997 – Pathways program celebrates 20th Anniversary.

  • 1999 – MRC begins Youth Transition program with a grant from Michigan Rehabilitative Services to serve youth with emotional impairments.  The program is called Connections.

  • 2000 – MRC Industries, Inc. becomes a member of The Alliance for Community Supports along with residential Opportunities, Inc., and Western Michigan University Center for Disability Services. 

  • The Alliance begins Intermission, a respite program for children and adults with disabilities.

  • MRC Industries, Inc. becomes the administrator for Riverside clubhouse in Three Rivers, Michigan.

  • 2001 – The Alliance begins the Alliance Senior Day Services program at 751 Pleasant St., Kalamazoo, Michigan,  for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

  • MRC begins the Corner Clubhouse, a Pathways program for people with mental illness ages 18 – 30.

  • 2004 - MRC's BridgeWays Case Management is started to provide case management and support services for individuals who experience symptoms of mental illness.