Lake Norman & Mooresville

Training to expand for disabled

A company that specializes in bringing services to people with developmental disabilities people will open a new location in the Mooresville area in early 2012.

M&M of the Carolinas recently received a conditional use permit from the Mooresville Board of Commissioners allowing it to establish a trade school in the South Iredell Industrial Park.

The school will provide an array of courses to developmentally disabled people, including money management, social skills and job search assistance.

It will operate in a 4,500-square-foot section of the building, at 161 McKenzie Road.

The school will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is expected to open in February or March, said Lanie Craven, community outreach liaison for M&M of the Carolinas.

The for-profit company has operated in the Iredell County area for 11 years, visiting people with developmental disabilities at their homes and at job sites.

The company has locations in Statesville and Troutman, serving about 36 people.

The Mooresville vocational school will be the company's first location where students will come to stay for the day.

The vocational school can support 25 students at a time, although Craven said that number will more likely be 12 to 15 at the beginning.

Students would stay at the school for varying lengths of time, depending on the skills they're trying to acquire, said Craven.

The company decided to put the vocational school in Mooresville because its officials saw a need for that type of service there, he said.

Although Goodwill of the Carolinas provides similar employment, job training and career development services, Craven said, he was not aware of a company that provided those services specifically for developmentally disabled people.

"Folks with other types of disabilities would not be appropriate for our program, the way it's structured," he said.

Craven said the company is open to the idea of partnering with neighboring businesses in the industrial park, which include a couple of race teams and a recycling facility.

"That is something we would check out in terms of trying to find some vocational opportunities. But that's way down the line," he said.

Now that the company has been granted a conditional use permit from the town to operate a school in the industrial park, M&M is seeking approval for a license from the state.

M&M of the Carolinas will become the second vocational school in Mooresville to operate in an area zoned for industrial use. Mooresville's NASCAR Technical Institute is located in the Talbert Pointe Business Park.

Rosemary Macri, whose company owns the building in which M&M of the Carolinas will operate, said she's looking forward to having the company join the industrial park.

"They're providing alternative support for people with multiple disabilities, to empower those individuals," she said.