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'The Prospector Theater' highlighting employment for adults with disabilities

The soon to be opened Prospector Theater in Ridgefield is a non-profit theater that's dedicated to providing job training and employment for adults with disabilities.  Ridgefield resident Valerie Jensen founded the Prospector, which is located on the site of the old Ridgefield Playhouse.  The idea came from her work leading SPHERE - Special People Housing Education Recreation and Employment - which helps people with disabilities. 


The Prospector currently has 10 full-time employees, with a goal of hiring about 60 people to work part-time jobs by the end of the first year at the theater’s concession stand, the restaurant, or working behind the scenes on the film projectors or sound systems.  The theater will also house a small production center that will train people with disabilities to produce, shoot and edit films.


“The answer to the unemployment epidemic among adults with disabilities is in our own backyard, on every Main Street in America,” Jensen said. “Employment opportunities are in our local movie theaters, restaurants, and shops. Small businesses are missing out on a huge resource that lies in the incredible talent pool of the 44 million talented Americans with disabilities, who are willing, competent, and able to work.”


“The Prospector represents the best of private investment in our community,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. “It’s a new movie theater built by a private family that will not only bring economic vitality to our downtown but also create a work environment for people with developmental disabilities. We're excited and extremely appreciative to the Jensen family for their investment in and caring for our community."


"Far too often, Americans with disabilities who have the ability and desire to work don’t have access to job training and employment opportunities,” 4th District Congressman Jim Himes said. “The Prospector Theater is a remarkable private investment that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Ridgefield’s community. It’s also an economic asset for downtown Ridgefield that the entire community will be able to enjoy.”

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