Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island is the first rehabilitation agency in America with roots stretching back in the Rhode Island community to 1863. At that time, the agency was established as the Irrepressible Society and its mission was to meet the needs of Civil War Veterans who had been disabled.
By 1872, the mission broadened, and in that year the agency was officially approved by the Rhode Island legislature to perform general charitable work for the City of Providence. By the 1890’s, in response to the request of the people served, the agency was finding jobs for people instead of performing charitable acts of kindness.
In 1929, the agency name changed to The Bureau of the Handicapped and occupational and therapeutic services were added to the offerings. In 1945 the agency’s name was changed once again to Community Workshops and in 1977 to Vocational Resources reflecting the broad range of educational and vocational services now available.