Last week, Plano-based nonprofit My Possibilities hosted a long-awaited groundbreaking for the second building on its campus just north of the President George Bush Turnpike. When completed in mid-2023, the new career services building will help the organization provide job training pathways and certificates in the fields of customer service, retail, administrative support, culinary arts, technology basics, hospitality, and more.
My Possibilities offers vocational education to adults in North Texas with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It lovingly refers to those it serves as “Hugely Important People” or “HIPsters”. The new building will allow the nonprofit to serve an additional 300 of them. My Possibilities Executive Director Michael Thomas says that the facility is an acknowledgment of HIPsters’ right to be a part of the workforce.
“For many people, when they get to a certain point in their education where they figure out what they want to do in the world, their next step is to get more education, more training. They need more time, more skills, to choose that career path, to be who they want to be in the world, to contribute in a way that is important to them,” he says. “Our HIPsters have not been given that same opportunity. It has simply never been an expectation or a plan that they will graduate and then take that same next leap into training and education.”
Work on the new facility was originally set to begin in March 2020. Then the pandemic hit, causing the date to be pushed back.
Over the next two years, construction costs rose drastically, forcing My Possibilities to seek additional funds.
The organization completed phase one of its $29.3 million capital campaign for the construction of the first two buildings on the Campus for Higher Learning. Both Bread Financial, formerly Alliance Data, and the Rees-Jones Foundation contributed $2.5 million to the capital campaign.
The Rees-Jones Foundation also provided a grant which served as the catalyst for My Possibilities to receive additional funds from the Mabee Foundation. This allowed construction on the second building to finally proceed.
Long-term plans for the 20-acre campus call for the addition of a therapy and communications center, wellness center, outdoor sports complex and dormitories. There will also be a retail center focused on training and employing adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Additionally, My Possibilities is developing a 300-home, 180-acre inclusive residential community in Garland known as Mission Hills.
According to Thomas, the career services building is about more than just the 300 additional HIPsters it will be able to serve. He believes it will provide a pathway to inclusion through the workforce in ways that those with disabilities have never seen before.
“We hope that this building serves as the example, a beacon, and a light bulb for organizations and people across the country that this population should be given an opportunity to continue learning, continue training, and to step into a job that they are proud of, and the world will accept them for,” he says.