Mission Statement

Palouse Industries will provide education, training, and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities residing in Whitman and Latah Counties in order to assist them to attain their highest possible socioeconomic level in the community.

Purpose Statement

Palouse Industries serves as a model for areas businesses and service providers to see children and adults with special needs as contributing members of our society. Ideally, Palouse Industries strives for the day when supports will be available in each preschool, business, public agency, and charitable organization that would sufficiently serve the needs of people with disabilities. Until then we are at the service of our community, state, local municipalities and families.

Program Managers

Contact icon for Eric
Executive Director
(509) 332-6561

Contact icon for Thelma
Business Manager
(509) 332-6561

Contact icon for Sue
Director of Children and Family Services
(509) 332-4420

Contact icon for Teresa
Employment Services Coordinator
(509) 332-6561

The History of Palouse Industries

In 1967 a group of parents concerned for the future of their children rallied together to form a chapter of the Washington Association for Retarded Children in Whitman County. Their purpose was to help support each other and to obtain needed services for their children. From their advocacy, County Commissioners appointed a Mental Retardation Board to perform planning, coordination and administrative function as provided in the Community Mental Retardation Services Act. The commissioners also appointed a Mental Retardation Program Coordinator.

Epton Society Created

A not-for-profit corporation, named after an Eastern Washington Sate Legislator, Kay Epton, was established as Whitman County Epton Society Inc., for the purpose of rendering aid to people with disabilities and to engage in charitable, benevolent, education, civic and social work related to this purpose. Ms. Epton was instrumental in establishing legislation in 1967, which appropriated funding and subsequent community programs for persons with developmental disabilities. Initially housed in the basement of St. Ignatius Manor in Colfax, the purpose of the program was to provide recreation, living skills training, social and pre-vocation skill development.

In 1968, Epton preschool was established in downtown Pullman to provide early intervention services to children "at risk" of and those with developmental delays. Interagency collaboration between Whitman County, Eption Society, Pullman School District, and the City of Pullman contributed to developmental services for families who resided throughout the county. Some families stayed in Pullman during the week to receive much needed services, and returned to their homes on the weekends. A residential center was established to support these children.

In 1973, Epton School received its private school status from the State Board of Education. In 1975 the school established formal relationships with Washington State University to collaboratively use each agency's resources. Student interns were given the opportunity to work with the pre-school student and Epton was able to benefit by utilizing the facilities of the Communication Disorder Clinic in Daggy Hall on the WSU Campus.

The dream of a regional center in Pullman to service adult vocational day programming was realized in 1978 when construction was completed on a new building in the Professional Mall area. A cooperative effort of Whitman County Dr. Wensel Leff, and referendum monies from Washington State facilitated the move of administrative offices and adult day programs to our present facility.

Palouse Industries Begins

In 1982, the agency changed it name to Palouse Industries, and further identifies the mission to educate and train adults in vocationally related programs and continued its efforts to assist young children through developmental therapy and transition into kindergarten. As Epton school furthered its association and work with WSU, it became locally known as Early Learning Services in 1986, and entered into agreement with WSU Child and Family Studies to partner in an integrated preschool located at White Hall. In 1997, Early Learning Services forged a new beginning by establishing an inclusive community based center of their own at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center in downtown Pullman. The center's mission is to provide inclusive service environments for all children with or without disabilities in a childcare preschool setting.

Today, Palouse Industries and Early Learning Services further strive to reach more children and their families and adults with disabilities by identification, assessment, education, childcare, developmental therapy, vocational skill building, and employment services. Our services continue to expand into surrounding areas and continue to further advocate for the elimination of barriers in our community.

Supported in part by United Way

United Way