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SEKRI opens new worlds for employees 

Workers make tents, shirts, hats for military 

EMPLOYEES working in eight locations, Corbin-based Southeastern Kentucky Rehabilitation Industries—SEKRI—provides a unique package of hard-to-find opportunities: jobs, encouragement, benefits, hope and a bright future. 

Since it began more than a half-century ago, SEKRI has prided itself on hiring people who are physically or mentally challenged, and those needing a second chance because of a past mistake such as a drug charge. 

“We open up new worlds,” says Stan Baker, SEKRI director of purchasing. “The great thing is the difference we make in lives.” 

In addition to the Corbin distribution center, there are seven locations: production facilities on the Corbin bypass, Cumberland, Harlan, Middlesboro, Paris, Pineville and Jellico, Tennessee. 

Working on contracts for the military, SEKRI employees make tents, first-aid kits, fire-retardant underwear and shirts, tactical-assault pouches, tourniquet kits and their best-known product: garrison and boonie hats for the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. 

SEKRI is a nonprofit company and prides itself on providing the experience that its employees need for the competitive workplace, says Leo Miller, executive director of SEKRI. Some who “graduate” come back, he says, because they like SEKRI’s four-day, 10-hour-a-day week and environment. 

Two recent successes include an employee who is moving to Washington state for a job and a new SEKRI manager who began on a sewing machine and overcame a drug addiction. 

“We are good to people,” Miller says. 

Vickie Anderson, a former principal, is a prime example. With her guidance on how to navigate course schedules and her coaching, more than 25 SEKRI employees have received General Educational Development diplomas since Anderson joined SEKRI four years ago. 

Pineville Officer Manager Erin Jones says, “SEKRI makes you feel like a person and not a number.” 

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