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Lincoln Training Center, 55 Years in Review 1964 – 2019

A Look Back…

Fifty-five years ago adults with developmental disabilities faced a bleak future once they graduated from special education high schools. In 1962, eight mothers formed a coalition to seek employment opportunities for their adult children, with support from Mr. James Hurst, principal of Lincoln School in San Gabriel.

A bungalow on the grounds of Lincoln School was used as a work area for the first ten trainees. Parents solicited local businesses and secured their first paid contract with the Becker Company in El Monte to roll newspapers that were used for packing material. Volunteering their time, the mothers trained the participants, did the bookkeeping, and held fundraisers to meet the ever-growing need for expansion.

In 1964 Lincoln became incorporated as a nonprofit organization. The Center moved to larger facilities in 1966 and had 50 full-time and 40 part-time workers.

In the 1970’s, a group of Lincoln mothers formed an Auxiliary and put in hundreds of volunteer hours to raise funds. Several local businesses donated equipment, which enabled the participants to work on more complex production contracts. Then, under the guidance of its Board of Directors, Lincoln sought accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and was awarded full accreditation.

As enrollment continued to increase – as did the number of production contracts – Lincoln began an all-out effort to raise funds to build a new facility. With the help of local businessman Henry Winkler, an acre of land was purchased on Loma Avenue in South El Monte.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 20, 1982. Thanks to generous endowments from Mrs. Dorothy Leavey and other supporters, the Center was able to complete its building project in November 1982. In 1990, a 5,000 sq. ft. warehouse was added.


Lincoln Training Center is an accredited, award-winning organization headquartered in a 30,000 square-foot facility in South El Monte, with satellite offices in Roseville (near Sacramento), Stockton, Fresno, Carlsbad and Apple Valley. In all, the Center provides paid training and employment opportunities for more than 500 people with developmental and physical disabilities annually, who are provided with vacation pay, bonuses, and workers compensation benefits. Another Lincoln program offers training and job placement for service-disabled veterans. In addition, Lincoln’s Production Services Department provides high-quality subcontract work for local, national, and international customers.

Lincoln is proud to have been awarded a CIMS (Cleaning Industry Management Standards) certification. This is a high achievement that attests to our commitment to quality. The Center also has a State of California General Contractors’ License with a C27 landscaping designation (#954927). Lincoln Training Center consistently receives the highest accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Lincoln’s highly regarded Supported Employment program places qualified and motivated workers into community job settings. Since its inception in 1992, the program has grown to encompass approximately 300 participants working at 100 work sites throughout the state.

Lincoln participants work in a variety of industries, such as banking, retail, automotive, government, fabricating, electronics, and the military. Employers include Nordstrom, Nissan,  Arcadia High School, Dacor, GF Signet, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Veterans Affairs, and Home Depot. Lincoln also provides services at numerous roadside Rest Areas throughout California.

Lincoln Training Center’s tremendous growth over the past 55 years would not have been possible without the support of our community partners. We want to express our deep appreciation to all of you for believing in our mission to help individuals with disabilities find meaningful employment, self esteem, and independence.