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Michael Powers and Tim Dygon
Tawnie Wilson | SBJ
Michael Powers and Tim Dygon

2023 Economic Impact Awards 36-74 Years in Business: The Arc of the Ozarks

Service Expansion

Posted online

Remodeling work has commenced on a $10 million project for The Arc of the Ozarks that will bring an autism clinic to Springfield by early next year.

The nonprofit, which purchased the clinic’s property – Empower: abilities’ former building at 2864 S. Nettleton Ave. – is partnering with Mercy Springfield Communities and Missouri State University to provide care at the Neurodevelopmental and Autism Center, which will have comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and advocacy services.

It’s filling a significant need in the community, say officials for the nearly 60-year-old organization, which provides support for people with disabilities.

“While there’s definitely places in Springfield that provide autism services and evaluation services, we know there’s a gap – especially when it comes to state-funded offices and centers in the southwest part of the state,” says Tim Dygon, the nonprofit’s executive vice president. “We want to create greater access to diagnostics, especially earlier diagnostics, as well as therapy and treatment. That therapy and treatment includes everything from applied behavior analysis or behavior therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, child psychiatry and other relevant medical services.”

The Arc’s CEO Mike Powers said work by general contractor Q & Co. LLC is scheduled to be complete around Thanksgiving.

“That gives us five or six weeks at the end of the year to move furniture in and move everybody into their spaces,” he says. “We’re hoping first of the year to have a grand opening.”

The center is part of ongoing growth for The Arc, which has offices in Springfield, Kansas City, Joplin and Monett. It serves roughly 3,500 people a year and had an operating budget of $65 million for fiscal 2023.

The Arc last year acquired TheraCare Outpatient Services LLC, which officials say has grown its capacity to serve individuals and families in the area with speech, occupational, physical and music therapy. Now with 37 employees, TheraCare has provided services to over 1,000 clients since the June 2022 acquisition.

“It just made sense to merge our forces together,” Powers says. “We had additional space already in our Joplin office that was tailor made to be able to do therapy services, so that was an easy addition.”

With The Arc’s staff size exceeding 1,400, including roughly 935 local employees, investment in worker pay is important, Powers says. Starting pay for entry-level positions was increased to $18 an hour last year – a 20% boost from the year prior.

The nonprofit also pays up to 84% of the employee cost for health insurance and recently expanded its benefits packages to include pet insurance and a hospital indemnity plan.

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