By BBJ Staff
The long-time executive director for Work Opportunities has retired after serving 28 years with the nonprofit.
Phil McConnell is only the second executive director in the history of Work Opportunities, which helps people with disabilities join the workforce.
The Work Opportunities Board of Directors has chosen Carrie Morehouse as his successor. Morehouse has served as the nonprofit’s director of vocational services for 11 years.
Work Opportunities is based in Lynnwood, but serves people throughout Snohomish, King and Whatcom counties. The agency was founded in 1963 by a group of parents from the Edmonds School District Special Education Parents Group who were concerned about what would happen to their children after graduation.
The nonprofit has offices in Mountlake Terrace, Everett and Bellingham. To pay for its mission, Work Opportunities receives state and county contributions as well as donations from United Way and other sources.
McConnell joined Work Opportunities on Nov. 4, 1987, as the director of vocational services. He assumed the role of executive director on Oct. 4, 1997, when Mike Hatch retired after more than 30 years in the position.
At that time, the agency supported 250 clients and had a staff of 40. Under McConnell’s leadership, the nonprofit today provides services to more than 400 clients and employs nearly 70 staff members.
When he took the helm of the organization, he told the board and staff that he wanted to help create opportunities and choices for individuals with disabilities in all aspect of their lives. He has aimed to make Work Opportunities flexible, creative and focused on meeting the individual needs of each client.
For more information, visit Work Opportunities’ website at www.workopportunities.org.