Desert Schools, The Centers For Habilitation, Marc Center Partner To Create Jobs for People with Special Needs

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, the largest not-for-profit, membership-based financial institution in the state of Arizona, announced its latest community partnership with The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) and the Marc Center of Mesa, through FCS Premier to create employment opportunities in the food industry for individuals with special needs and disabilities. FCS Premier is pleased to announce the opening of the Desert Bistro, an FCS-run café at Desert Schools’ corporate headquarters in Phoenix.

The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) and the Marc Center of Mesa joined together three years ago to create FCS Premier, LLC. FCS Premier works to create high quality dining experiences, while offering legitimate, meaningful work opportunities and training for individuals who traditionally have had limited work options. Each organization maintains a long history devoted to vocational rehabilitation and training for people with disabilities.

Dan Snead, Vice President, Property Management and Security at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union said, “We were so pleased to learn about TCH and Marc Center and the services they provides throughout the Valley with its FCS Premier partnership. Our commitment to Valley communities has long been a cornerstone of our organization, and one that Desert Schools takes great pride in. With each of our missions aligning so closely, it was a natural fit to partner with FCS and extend our commitment to the community with such a great cause.”

Today, FCS employees and training associates are offering job training and work opportunities to more than 25 individuals who find challenges within the workplace at Banner Health’s corporate offices in Mesa. The Desert Bistro at Desert Schools will be FCS’ 2nd café opening in the Valley and will offer employment opportunities to an additional 8 individuals.

Rebecca, an employee in training states, “If I didn’t have this job I’d just be at home, you know, and this is better. I like working on my own and having my own responsibilities. And everybody is really nice. I love it here!”

The official Grand Opening for the Desert Bistro will be held on Thursday, November 8th at 10 A.M. The event will consist of a ribbon cutting, remarks from the partners involved and refreshments.

Desert Schools has built its foundation on a fundamental passion for lending a personal hand toward positive change throughout Valley communities. Participating in nearly 130 community projects in the Phoenix-metropolitan area, 45% of Desert Schools’ employees got involved with or led community projects in 2011, volunteering 2,902 hours to support various causes as members of the Desert Schools ‘CommuniTeam’.

In 2011, the credit union coordinated fundraising efforts with employees, vendors and partners to give back more than $802,000 to the community. Desert Schools raised $360,285 for the Children’s Miracle Network, $224,178 for the United Way and $96,000 in community grants in 2011 alone. It awarded $30,000 in community service scholarships to high school seniors and college freshmen for demonstrating dedication to their studies and continued education as well as their commitment to giving back to the community.

About Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Desert Schools is Arizona’s largest credit union with $3 billion in assets, 320,000 members and 50 locations. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Schools has been serving members for more than 70 years with stellar service, innovative products, community outreach and education. Learn more at

About FCS Premier
Banner Health, Marc Center and The Centers for Habilitation (TCH) have joined together in a unique partnership and created “The Blue Ribbon Bistro” and “Java Junction” at Banner Corporate Center – Mesa.  This partnership of three non-profits not only provides quality food service to Banner employees, but also creates jobs and job training for people with special needs.  Marc Center and TCH/The Centers for Habilitation have long histories of success in vocational rehabilitation and training for people with disabilities. Together, they have formed FCS Premier to provide a high quality dining experience for Banner employees, while offering legitimate and meaningful work opportunities and training for a cohort of people who traditionally have had limited work options.

Marc Center and TCH/The Centers for Habilitation who together have over 80 years of service in the community have always looked at ways to share best practices and collaborate on important ventures.  Marc Center, a neighbor of the Banner Corporate Center has developed cooperative relationships with Banner through the West Mesa Community Development Corporation, and TCH has operated the food service and flight kitchen at Davis Monthan Air Force base for over 16 years.

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