The history and growth of Brevard Achievement Center is a story of compassion for people with disabilities. As the District Director for Vocational Rehabilitation in 1967, Bill Cox was forced to drive across the state to use St. Petersburg facilities to evaluate, train and provide work experience for adults with disabilities in Brevard County since none were available on the Space Coast. Cox diligently worked to illustrate the needs of people with disabilities and on February 8, 1968, Brevard County Community Achievement Center (BCCAC) was born. Led by Ammon G. Belleman, Jr., the local IBM general manager, BCCAC’s first Board created the following goals:
- Build dignity and self-respect for persons with disabilities.
- Make tax payers out of tax users.
- Prevent institutionalization of many people.
- Return to the community at least part of the cost of serving persons with disabilities by developing economically useful members of society to reduce dependence.
Donald Swickert, BCCAC’s first Executive Director, and a team of three staff members served seven clients in what became a permanent location at 1845 Cogswell Street in Rockledge, where the Center still resides today.
The history of BAC’s dedicated team spirit to become Brevard Achievement Center (as it was renamed in 1975) has grown to become a premier agency serving people with disabilities. Forging key corporate partnerships and working with the AbilityOne Program, the agency offers employment and training opportunities at federal contract sites across Florida, Puerto Rico, Virginia and North Carolina. Furthermore, BAC’s longstanding partnership with Brevard Public Schools has allowed the Center to reach out to students with disabilities to help them plan for the future.
With a staff of 90 and 5,000-plus clients served annually, the Center consistently meets quality guidelines set by agencies like the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services program. BAC also is a United Way partner.
The commitment of BAC’s founders, parents, dedicated staff and numerous volunteers has played a critical role in the formation of its quality programs and services offered. This legacy of service and commitment is instilled in the organization and is seen each day in the many ways that BAC serves its clients, business partners and families….and ultimately its mission.