VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE SERVICES is a private, non-profit organization that offers vocational training, employment, community services, and remedial education classes. The organization traces its history to the Sunbeam Circle, formed in 1890, a group of young women who sewed items for sale to benefit children at Lakeside Hospital. Between 1900 and 1910 this effort expanded and evolved into the Sunbeam School for Crippled Children. The organization continued to evolve and expand over time, becoming the Sunbeam Assn. in 1916; then the Assn. of Crippled and Disabled; then the Cleveland Rehabilitation Center in 1939, which offered comprehensive services for the disabled. In 1956 the center merged with the Vocational Guidance Bureau and became the Vocational Guidance and Rehabilitation Services with a new focus on employment.
The organization first moved onto E. 55th St. in 1922, and constructed a new building there in 1969 which served as its headquarters in 1995. The name of the organization was shortened in 1986. One of the association's efforts, "planning for life after 50," was used as a model for similar programs nationwide. By the early 1990s the organization had expanded to include 10 locations in northeastern Ohio and had its emphasis on vocational evaluation, training, and placement. In 1994 12,839 people were served and jobs were found for 2,605 challenged northeast Ohio residents, including disabled and economically disadvantaged people. There was a paid staff of 110 and the annual budget was $12.9 million.