Our History

On June 20, 1972, the Haywood County Sheltered Workshop opened its doors for the first time at the old Patton Elementary School in Canton, NC.

This opening was only the beginning of fulfilling the dream of an Advisory Committee which had been working since early 1966 to organize a sheltered workshop operation for the citizens of Haywood County.

1972 - The Haywood County Sheltered Workshop opened its doors with a total of six clients.
1973- A new building located on the campus of Haywood Technical College was completed through the majority efforts of the Waynesville Rotary Club.
1976- An additional building with 10,000 square feet of office, production and classroom space was completed.
1978- The program became accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
1980- A new 7,000 square foot woodworking building was completed.
1983- A public, joint agency between Haywood County and Haywood Technical College was formed with a Board of Commissioners governing the Haywood County Sheltered Workshop.
1985- The Haywood County Sheltered Workshop changed its name to Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc. (HVO). HVO became a public, not-for-profit organization.
1989- Haywood Vocational Opportunities (HVO) was incorporated and became a private, not-for-profit organization known as Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc. (HVO).
1990- HVO moved into a newly remodeled 48,700 square foot facility in the Hazelwood community of Waynesville.
1994- An 8,000 square foot addition was completed.
1996- A 2,700 square foot addition to the woodworking facility was completed.
1997- HVO became ISO-9002 Registered.
1998- A 15,000 square foot addition was completed to meet growth demands.
2001- Completed new environmentally controlled room to produce custom medical kits. 
2002- Purchased an adjoining six-acre tract of property for expansion.
2003- Invested in sealing equipment and a custom laminator for medical products.
2004- HVO opened a Learning and Enrichment Center for individuals with developmental disabilities nearing retirement age.
2005- A 62,000 square foot addition was added to the HVO campus making HVO’s total operating space 140,000 square feet with 11.5 acres.
2006- HVO Signs opened a “storefront” business in the Forga Plaza in Waynesville.
2007- HVO sustained a record breaking number of employees and clients served with 295 full-time employees and 181 clients served for the year.
2008- A 3,100 square foot Product Development expansion was completed and HVO had a record-breaking number of clients served at 237.
2009- HVO became ISO-13485 Registered.
2010- HVO purchased & renovated 117,000 square foot former Wellco Enterprises, Inc. in the Hazelwood Community of Waynesville. In October of 2010, HVO had its grand opening of the new Westwood Facility providing additional space for manufacturing, production & training purposes.
2012- HVO celebrates 40 years of service in Haywood County!

Accreditations and Certifications

  • Nationally accredited by CARF, the rehabilitation accreditation commission
  • ISO 13485 Registered
  • FDA Registered
  • DHSR Licensed

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