History & Stability

Founded in 1927 by the National Council of Jewish Women, The Industrial League was a non-profit committee established as an experiment to find out if women “handicapped” by housework and children and could not leave their homes, could contribute to the family budget. Women were trained to be seamstresses, and their finished garments were featured and sold at fashion shows hosted by the region’s socialites.


Life’sWork of Western PA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the quality of life of persons with disabilities and others with barriers to employment through productive employment opportunities. Last year, Life’sWork celebrated 90 years of championing the cause of individuals with disabilities. More than 100,000 individuals of all ages with disabilities or other employment barriers have utilized Life'sWork to achieve independence and self-sufficiency. On average we serve over 2,000 clients a year ranging from youth as young as 14 to adults, as well as people with other barriers to employment, including at-risk youth, single parents and people transitioning off public assistance. What we define as a barrier isn’t always a disability that is visible to the eye, we also serve those with barriers you can’t see. There is one thing that all of the people we serve do have in common: they want to work. Most importantly, they are very proud of their accomplishments, and so are we.

By the late 1930s, the organization responded to the effects of the Great Depression and began serving immigrants and disabled war veterans. Called the United Vocational and Employment Service, the agency’s mission was “to value the self-respect that comes to the handicapped person as a result of being self-supporting.” In 1961 the agency’s name changed to Vocational Rehabilitation Center of Allegheny County (VRC) and was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a non-profit 501(C)3 organization. Following a $2 million capital campaign, VRC moved to a 65,000 square foot barrier free headquarters on Forbes Avenue in 1970. A short seven years later due to expansion needs and the success of the organization, two floors were added to the office on Forbes. Just one year after the second expansion, VRC opened an office in Westmoreland County to better serve individuals in the Mon Valley area. As we celebrated the new millennium VRC changed its name to the present name: Life’sWork of Western PA and again goes through an “image makeover” complete with a new logo, tag line and website in 2004.  The rest is history. 90 years later, and our mission still hasn’t changed. Life’sWork still provides opportunity, employment and independence to more than 2,000 individuals each year. And Life’sWork still serves individuals with disabilities, both adults and youth, as well as people with other barriers to employment, including at-risk youth, single parents and people transitioning off public assistance.

Board of Directors
Executive Team

Matthew L. Wagle CFP®, MBA - Senior Vice President
Wells Fargo Advisors

President & CEO
Timothy Parks

André J. Barnabei
Rivers Casino

Amanda Beamon

Mary Ann Bell
WESCO International, Inc.

Arnold Fonseca
A & L Precision Products

Shawn T. Fox
RDC, Inc

Harold Hall
Uber Advanced Technologies Group

Frank Hajduk
PNC Bank

Joanna Huss
Huss Group

Robert D. Jordan

Michael Kinne

Kyle C. Knapp
Viterium LLC

Joseph Milicia, Jr.
Turner Construction Company

John Paserba
Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.

Jennifer Pesci-Kelly
Carnegie Mellon University

Joseph Putila
Gerome Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Lori Schoonmaker
Highmark, Inc.

Gregory A. Scott
University of Pittsburgh

Kaia Sipple
Rinovum Women’s Health, LLC

Cindy Walker, Ph.D.
Duquesne University

Stephanie Winer Schreiber
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

Lori Wolff
Staley Capital Advisers, Inc

Timothy Parks
President & CEO

Rosemary Dammond
Executive Assistant & Corporate Secretary

Kenneth Davison
Director, Family Services

Edward Frye
Director, Mon Valley Division

Rosann Linza
Director, Human Resources

Chris Phelps
Director, Client Services

Tasha Pokrzywa
Director, Marketing & Development

Babette Sefiane
Director, Corporate Development & Business Services Sales

William Stayduhar
Chief Financial Officer

Tara Zimmerman
Director, Business Services

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