RISE Inc. was founded in the fall of 1965, as the Community Sheltered Workshop of Steuben County, a non-profit rehabilitation facility to serve post-school age individuals with disabilities. The workshop was located in one room in the basement of Pleasant Lake School.
By 1973, the workshop had outgrown the Pleasant Lake building and moved to a new home in the Angola industrial area. This larger facility provided room for more individuals and more contract work. Ancillary services of Activities of Daily Living and speech therapy were added along with recreation and Special Olympics. Evaluation and adjustment services were also offered. In 1974, the catchment area was expanded to include DeKalb county residents and with the addition of several buses, routes throughout Steuben and DeKalb counties were created.
In 1967, a building on the main street in Pleasant Lake was purchased to house the workshop. Jobs from area industries provided some individuals with their first ever paycheck. Over the next six years, the population of the workshop increased to 40 adults. A preschool was started in 1970 and served children ages 2 through 6.
In 1977, the workshop built on an addition through a grant from Indiana Rehabilitation Services and the total facility was increased by 10,500 square feet. This expansion housed an ever increasing population. A job placement program was added in 1981 and resulted in job training and placement of individuals in community employment.
In 1984, an agreement was reached with the DeKalb Preschool for the Handicapped (now known as Children First Center), that the children in our preschool would be incorporated into their program.
December 5, 1988 the workshop moved into its new home on Wohlert Street in Angola. The new 29,000 square foot facility was designed especially for the adults with disabilities it would serve. Some features included push button faucets, infra-red hand dryers and emergency pull cords in the restrooms, a one level accessible shower, a room for teaching daily living activities including a full bath and kitchen. Automatic doors at several locations provided easy access into the building.
In 1985, the Board of Directors and Administration realized that we were running out of room in our building. Through a grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health, a new building was planned.
In 1990, a new name for the facility was adopted. In an effort to better describe services offered, the name RISE Inc. was chosen. RISE stands for Rehabilitation and Industrial Services Enterprise.
In 1993, RISE Inc. underwent its first survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and received the highest award, which was a three-year accreditation. RISE Inc. has gone on to receive eight more three-year accreditations in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017.
On April 10, 2020, RISE Inc. announced plans to merge with Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana to serve more people with a broader scope of services in Steuben and DeKalb counties. With the merger, RISE became known as Easterseals RISE as of July 1, 2020.