Southern Worcester County Rehabilitation Center, Inc. was incorporated in the town of Webster, MA in November of 1970. At this time, without the mandates of the 766 legislation, there were no guarantees as to how long developmentally disabled individuals would be maintained in public school. If the school department discharged the student to his or her parents’ care, there were no options in the area for providing continued services.

In response to this situation, 14 parents and business people concerned about the need for continued training and educational opportunities for developmentally disabled individuals formed and incorporated Southern Worcester County Rehabilitation Center, Inc.  The initial program was a work/social activity program.  Through creative program development and advocacy, they were soon able to contract with the Department of Mental Retardation to secure funding.

In the early 1970s, the center added residential living programs and day habilitation programs and the legacy of providing innovative and need-based programs and services were underway.


The agency’s vocational service programs began in the early 70’s, and has expanded to include competitive job placement and support, Ticket to Work programming, and group and individual supported employment.


The agency opened its first thrift store, Closet Classics, in Webster, MA to not only meet the needs of the community at large, but to offer opportunities for intellectually/developmentally disabled adults in their day programs to meet and interact with the public, learn valuable social and marketable skills, and to earn a paycheck.

The store received wonderful support from the community through donations and patronizing the store.


The agency developed an outstandingly successful program for four autistic individuals in Webster, MA.

In 2006, the agency changed its name to Life-Skills, Inc. to better represent the scope of services they provide. Life-Skills, Inc. currently supports 25+ programs, employs approximately 400 staff, and provides services to over 350 individuals in our programs throughout Central and Western Massachusetts.

Take 2 Consignment, another agency-owned business, was opened in Dudley, MA. With the overwhelming success of this social enterprise, the store was relocated to a larger space in 2009 in Webster, MA to include an on-site bakery for the Big Fat Cookie company.

Life-Skills, Inc. trademarked 5 cookie recipes and began to market “Big Fat Cookies”, a 2.5 ounce all natural cookie, the cookies morphed into a bakery operation which is still going strong.

The agency completed a 10,500 square foot building in Greenfield, MA specifically designed to meet the needs of intellectually/developmentally disabled individuals needing day habilitation services in Franklin County.

The agency began the operation of Best Buds Greenhouse, a horticultural therapeutic experience providing unique employment opportunities to the individuals they serve. The greenhouse operates from spring into late fall and plants and vegetables are sold in a variety of locations including their agency owned stores.

Life-Skills, Inc. launched “Fired Up”, an on-site fully-accessible ceramics studio offering paid employment opportunities to their individuals as well as an outlet for artistic expression. Fired up is equipped with 2 kilns, a large variety of molds, paints, supplies, and ample studio space. Finished products are sold in their thrift and consignment stores.