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The funds will support the social enterprise’s employment helpline for people with disabilities.

Roseville, Calif.  —The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation was recently awarded a $75,000 grant by the Hearst Foundations to help fund its I AM ABLE employment helpline.

“We are honored to receive this generous grant from the Hearst Foundations,” said Michele Bennyhoff, Director of The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation. “The I AM ABLE Helpline is a valuable gateway for people with disabilities to get connected to essential employment support services and job opportunities. This grant will allow us to serve more people and positively impact their lives.”

PRIDE Industries is the nation’s leading employer of people with disabilities. Launched in 2021, the I AM ABLE Helpline—the only employment helpline of its kind—assists people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, including military veterans, former foster youth, and trafficking survivors. Free and available in both English and Spanish, the helpline connects people to support services, job training, and employment opportunities.

“We are proud to partner with outstanding nonprofits such as PRIDE Industries to help ensure people of all backgrounds have an opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspired lives,” said Paul “Dino” Dinovitz, Executive Director at Hearst Foundations. “The Foundations are pleased to support the I AM ABLE Helpline.”

Founded by William Randolph Hearst in the 1940s, the Hearst Foundations serve as a philanthropic resource for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. Since inception, the foundations have made over 22,000 grants to nearly 6,000 organizations, totaling more than $1.3 billion in funds awarded.

PRIDE Industries employs an inclusive workforce to deliver essential business services—including facilities management, manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain management—to government entities and private businesses. The nonprofit social enterprise also provides recruitment, staffing, and disability inclusion support services to employers wishing to cultivate a more inclusive and productive workforce.

“At PRIDE Industries, we provide vocational training, and we can connect individuals with jobs—either with us or with one of our many employment partners,” said Bennyhoff. “And it all starts with that call to the helpline.”

About PRIDE Industries

PRIDE Industries delivers business excellence with a positive social impact. A social enterprise, we provide facilities operations and maintenance services, custodial services, contract manufacturing, supply chain management, packaging and fulfillment services, and staffing and recruitment services to private and public organizations nationwide. Founded in 1966, PRIDE Industries’ mission is to create employment for people with disabilities. Through personalized employment services, we help individuals realize their true potential and lead more independent lives. PRIDE Industries proves the value of its inclusive workforce model through operational success across multiple industries every day. Learn more at https://PRIDEIndustries.com.

Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.

San Diego event header

“Jay’s Program” partners with PRIDE Industries for access into County employment

SAN DIEGO  — The County of San Diego in partnership with PRIDE Industries, the nation’s leading employer of people with disabilities, on Tuesday hosted its “Jay’s Program” recruitment event to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities opportunities for six-month, part-time, paid internship opportunities with County of San Diego departments.

The recruitment event was attended by 20 candidates, and they had access to more than 15 individuals from County Departments such as Aging and Independence Services, Department of Child Support Services, Child Welfare Services, Department of Human Resources, Land Use and Environmental Group, and the Office of Emergency Services/Fire Authority. The program exists to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities improve their job skills and increase opportunities for future employment.

In 2019, Chair Nathan Fletcher created the inclusive employment program at the County in honor of Raymond “Jay” Bariuan, who has worked with Chair Fletcher since his days in the California State Assembly.

“Individuals with disabilities possess different life experiences and can provide tremendous value to a team,” said Chair Fletcher. “Since we started Jay’s Program, 20 individuals have played integral roles in 20 different San Diego County departments. It has been a successful program, and we are excited to welcome some new Jay’s Program participants to the County.”

Over six months, participants collaborate with County mentors to discuss career goals and craft their program courses. They gain practical work experience for resume development and hone skills and abilities that will qualify them for entry-level civil service jobs. PRIDE Industries’ job coaches provide tailored support to each individual for long-term success. Moreover, twice monthly, interns meet as a group to debrief and share growth milestones. 

The initiative went on hiatus in March 2020 because of the COVID 19 pandemic, when non-essential staff members were sent home; however, some of the team members did support the County’s COVID-19 programs.   

“I applaud the County of San Diego for its commitment to Jay’s Program and recognizing that an inclusive workforce is a strong workforce,” said Jeff Dern,

President and CEO of PRIDE Industries. “When a large employer like the County employs 20,000 individuals and embraces inclusivity, it leads by example. PRIDE Industries encourages counties throughout the country to implement similar internship opportunities within their regions.”

Annually, there will be four teams with five interns per team. Additionally, PRIDE Industries has partnered with San Diego County to provide disability workplace inclusion training to County staff in a phased rollout.

For over 35 years, PRIDE Industries, formerly operated as Partnerships With Industry (PWI), has provided meaningful employment and training services for people with disabilities in the San Diego region. Funding and individual referrals for the internship program are provided by the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC), which serves and empowers people with developmental disabilities and their families to achieve their goals with community partners.

About the County of San Diego

The County of San Diego provides a wide variety of health, public safety, and community services to residents of 18 cities and a large unincorporated area. The County works toward a vision of a just, sustainable, and resilient future for all 3.3 million San Diegans living throughout the 4,526-square-mile region. Learn more at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov

About PRIDE Industries

PRIDE Industries delivers business excellence with a positive social impact. A social enterprise, we provide facilities operations and maintenance services, custodial services, contract manufacturing, supply chain management, packaging and fulfillment services, and staffing and recruitment services to private and public organizations nationwide. Founded in 1966, PRIDE Industries’ mission is to create employment for people with disabilities. Through personalized employment services, we help individuals realize their true potential and lead more independent lives. PRIDE Industries proves the value of its inclusive workforce model through operational success across multiple industries every day. Learn more at https://PRIDEIndustries.com.

Need employment placement support?

Contact our I AM ABLE Helpline to discuss your options.
Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.

Chief Growth Officer of PRIDE Industries, Leah Burdick, talks with Lee Callahan about PRIDE Industries’ success in getting people with disabilities into the workforce. She highlights the expansion of our service offerings into the Seattle region.

(This interview has been edited and condensed

Lee Callahan (LC): Welcome to the public affairs show of your favorite iHeart radio station in Seattle. We are delighted to have Chief Growth Officer Leah Burdick of PRIDE Industries.

You get people with disabilities employed. Can you tell us how great it is to have people with disabilities in the workforce and why this is important?

Leah Burdick (LB): We find there’s a lot of emphasis on diversity, which is wonderful, but there’s not so much on disability inclusion. And people with disabilities encompass a diverse population. You can have physical disabilities and intellectual disabilities, which encompass learning, behavioral, and psychological. Overall, these groups often have higher unemployment rates than the general population because they face barriers during the interview process.

We find that when you give someone a chance and grow their talents, the employee becomes very loyal. It makes the rest of your employees feel good and more engaged because they like to work for companies doing positive work in the community.

LC: Is there training to get people ready to be at their best in the workforce?

LB: Absolutely. PRIDE Industries is entering Seattle, and we have jobs and training available. We find that people with disabilities might take slightly longer to meet the same requirements as the general workforce. But as mentioned, they stay in the job longer. We often have job coaches available to help them be successful.

LC: Do you provide the hiring company with disability inclusion training? How do you work with them?

LB: Yes, we also provide inclusion training for the companies and their managers. In this case, we must also educate about accommodations. Many companies think they sound expensive, but most cost nothing; it’s often less than $500 to help somebody be successful.

LC: Can you give me an example of an accommodation?

LB: Well, often, it might mean just adjusting their schedule so they can go to an appointment. It also might be looking at the job description and giving them another task if there’s one they can’t do. Using job coaches is an accommodation as well.

LC: Now, you’re working with local and global organizations. Can you tell me about some of the ones you work with and what people with disabilities do there?

LB: We do a lot of work on military bases. For example, at Fort Bliss in Texas—one of the largest army installations in the world—there, we do everything that a soldier doesn’t do. We’ve got people running the commissary to engineers working on the water treatment.

And, in the Seattle area, we’ve got a lot of work in food service: delivery, catering, and, on corporate campuses, cafeterias.

LC: I know you’re located outside Sacramento, but you’re moving into Oregon and Seattle. Do you see more companies coming along and being more open to hiring folks with disabilities?

LB: Yes. We partner with Compass Group, which runs cafeterias for large companies. We’re working with them to help boost the inclusive workforce. And absolutely, there’s a lot of interest from companies. It can be a tough environment to hire people because of the staffing situation. We’ve known that regardless of the market, people with disabilities are terrific employees and can add a lot to a workforce.

LC: What is it about the military? Are they more open-minded?

LB: We also place what we call Barrier Groups—people with a higher incidence of disabilities, like veterans and former foster youth. So, certainly a lot of veterans that work on military bases.

Also, the government has some incentives to hire and employ people with disabilities. We’ve had long-standing partnerships at different bases and federal buildings around the country.

LC: Now, what do companies say about the quality and caliber?

LB: We’ve been a partner of HP, Inc. for 20 years, and we meet their performance metrics, and they love us as a partner. We’ve been given large awards from them.

A smaller example is a casino here in Northern California, where we handle their laundry facilities now. We took over from an underperforming vendor and came in and outperformed that vendor. We hear about the enthusiasm that spills over into the rest of the workforce and that we meet their criteria.

LC: For someone with a disability, how has it improved their lives to become an included member of society?

LB: Many people tell us they were sitting at home, doing nothing. So it’s the ability to come to work, feel like you’re part of a community, have friends, and get a paycheck. It’s just like any person—you want to be able to contribute, develop your talents, and feel like you have a purpose. And having a job gives people purpose.

LC: Focusing back on Seattle, can you tell us about the I AM ABLE Helpline?

LB: We’ve created the first employment helpline of its kind for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. The number is 844-I-AM-ABLE (844-426-2253).

We walk people through the process of how to connect to available services and educate them about training as well as the jobs that are available in their area. We also have both English and Spanish helpline representatives.

LC: If someone with a disability who wants to work is listening, or if someone who knows somebody in the situation is listening, what would you say to them?

LB: We have jobs available that pay from $16 to $20 an hour. I encourage them to call 844-I-AM-ABLE (844-426-2253) and talk to one of our representatives. Learn what options are available to you and get on the path to employment.

Need employment placement support?

Contact our I AM ABLE Helpline to discuss your options.

“We find there’s a lot of emphasis on diversity, which is wonderful, but there’s not so much on disability inclusion.”

– Leah Burdick, Chief Growth Officer for PRIDE Industries
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Case Study:

3rd Stone Design

PRIDE Industries helps 3rd Stone Design build and ship a life-saving medical device.

3rd Stone Design invents life-saving medical products that protect the health of people and the planet. They also design the businesses to launch them by partnering with clients to bring their prototypes to market worldwide. With 15 years of experience, 3rd Stone specializes in global medical devices, renewable energy systems, and socially conscious consumer products.

Situation

Medical devices have previously proven too expensive and complex to widely implement in developing countries. 3rd Stone Design changed this. Since 2013, PRIDE Industries has partnered with them to build and ship their Pumani CPAP machine, a low-cost respiratory solution for infants in underdeveloped nations. Over 1,000 units have been placed in 35 countries to date, tripling the survival rate of babies with respiratory distress syndrome.

So in 2022, when 3rd Stone Design needed a partner that could build, package, and ship their new BiliDx system affordably, the medical device company hired PRIDE Industries to get the job done. The BiliDx System affordably measures infants’ serum bilirubin levels from a miniscule amount of blood.

Solution

PRIDE Industries provided a one-stop-shop experience for 3rd Stone Design, helping them scale, build, and package their new BiliDx System. This lifesaving device immediately measures serum bilirubin levels from a small drop of whole blood applied to an inexpensive, disposable lateral flow strip. PRIDE Industries also provides low-cost international shipping, creating significant cost savings for this medical device company and its customers. The system has proven an affordable solution, helping economically developing nations combat neonatal jaundice—which affects 24 million newborns each year.

Services Provided

Scaling, building, packaging, and shipping of the Pumani and BiliDx Systems

3rd Stone Design logo

Highlights

1,000+

Pumani systems to date, helping triple the survival rate of babies with respiratory distress syndrome

Shipping to

35 countries

Forecasted

250

BiliDX Systems, to help decrease the affliction in 24M newborns each year

3,000

BiliDX Test Strips

110

SCS Units 

“PRIDE Industries has been an extraordinary partner in helping us scale and produce specially designed medical products for mothers and newborns in underserved communities throughout the globe.”

— Robert Miros, CEO, 3rd Stone Design

Learn more about our services

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cleaning in a hotel room

GDS expands its social mission and its business, with the help of PRIDE Industries.

Established in January of 2000, Granite Data Solutions (GDS) is a California Certified Disabled Veteran Owned Enterprise (DVBE) specializing in Client Lifecycle Management with a focus on serving state and local government entities, as well as education-related organizations.

Situation

Driven by the same mission to create job opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, GDS partnered with PRIDE Industries for assembly and kitting in 2012. PRIDE Industries has since supported the business through its outgrowth of two buildings. Then, in 2018, when GDS expanded further and needed on-site packaging and shipping support, they turned again to a provider they knew they could count on.

Solution

After an evaluation, five work groups, composed of 15 employees with disabilities, were created to handle GDS’s IT-related deployment and depot-style service projects. For every work group hired by GDS, PRIDE Industries provided a work group trainer to help employees with developmental disabilities learn and succeed in their jobs.

With consulting help, GDS earned its Processed Food Registration (PFR) certification from the California Department of Health in October 2018. Instruction and training involved implementing safety, quality, and fulfillment guidelines—including proper food handling procedures, allergen separation, shipping, receiving, and lot code tracking. In addition, PRIDE Industries helped GDS develop its pricing and shop rate. Production lines, using lean manufacturing methods, were also created.

With GDS’s new food processing business plan implemented, work groups now help run up to four food-packing lines and handle shipping for four new customers.

Services Provided

  • Kitting and assembly
  • Pricing and shop rate development
  • Assistance in running up to four food packaging lines
  • Implementation of safety, quality, and fulfillment guidelines
  • Shipping, receiving, and lot code tracking
  • Creation of production lines using lean manufacturing methods

Results

  • Continued annual expansion
  • Processed Food Registration (PFR) certification
  • Four new business accounts acquired
  • Over 7,000 pallets per year
  • 24 truckloads per month
  • Expansion of mission of providing job assistance and training to people with disabilities.
  • Hiring of PRIDE Industries-trained individuals with developmental disabilities for its permanent staff
GDS logo

Highlights

15

individuals with developmental disabilities

8
years of business partnership
>7,000
pallets shipped per year
20
work groups of individuals with disabilities

“It’s been amazing to see what PRIDE Industries and GDS have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time. We’re excited to see what our partnership will bring in the future.”

— Brigg Goodwin, President, Granite Data Solutions

“Renewable energy resources make up 26 percent of the world’s electricity today,” according to Earth.Org, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts this number will reach 30 percent by 2024. Ember, an independent energy think tank, cites even higher numbers, estimating that 38 percent of the world’s electricity was generated via clean energy in 2021. This is a trend Dave Jones, Ember’s Global Program Lead, sees growing in the coming decade.

Reasons for the leap are myriad, including a post-pandemic resurgence in energy need, falling technology costs, rising environmental concerns, and strains on our electricity grid. But perhaps the most compelling reason for sustainable power’s expansion, from a business standpoint, is the rising cost of its alternatives.

This comes on the heels of an already shifting post-lockdown economy—which has seen unexpected growth in oil demand posed against limited supply. As a result, in 2021 crude oil prices rose from nearly $70 per Brent Crude barrel to almost $130. Meanwhile, natural gas has gone from $2.50 to almost $6 per MMBtu, and coal prices have increased from just under $100 per ton to more than $400.

 

Against this backdrop, sustainable power production has seen rapid growth. In 2021, clean energy set records, and the IEA predicts 2022 will follow suit with solar and wind energy leading the way.

Solar Energy

As summarized in an article in Scientific American, the IEA projects “U.S. solar companies will install 21.5 gigawatts of utility-scale capacity this year, shattering the annual record of 15.5 GW set last year.” Even amid supply-chain restraints, Bloomberg NEF Solar Analyst Tara Narayanan predicts these issues will be overcome—with record solar installations in 2022. Notably, in Texas—a state whose reliance on coal long resulted in high greenhouse gas emissions—solar has already seen a boom between 2020 and 2021. And 2022? The IEA projects the Lone Star State will again lead the country in utility-scale solar installations.

When it comes to wind power, the IEA plans for 7.6 gigawatts of additional wind power in 2022—with offshore turbines leading the way. According to Bloomberg NEF, “Offshore wind installations will top 10 gigawatts for the second year in a row.” Underscoring this trend, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently issued a request for proposal (RFP), which includes new opportunities for small and medium-sized turbine manufacturers to propose energy solutions. This comes in the wake of the Biden Administration’s January-announced goal: 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power, requiring the installation of approximately 2,000 turbines in the water by 2030.

Aside from the obvious ways sustainable energy benefits our planet, reducing carbon footprint and greenhouse gases, renewable energy makes financial sense.

In a June 2021 press release, Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said, “Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power.” La Camera went on to say, “. . . [T]hey meet growing energy demand, while saving costs, adding jobs, boosting growth, and meeting climate ambitions.”

Where solar was once more costly than gas and oil, that may no longer be the case. A recent article in Consumer Affairs offers these statistics from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: “Electricity from fossil fuels costs between 5 and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy costs average between 3 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour and are trending down.”

And wind power?

According to IRENA, “The cost of electricity from wind continues to fall, driven by declines in wind turbine prices.” IRENA attributes a steady decline (since 2010) to plant cost reductions and improvements in turbine technology—allowing more energy harvest from the same wind speeds.

The decline in cost for both solar and wind power, combined with other factors—including their alignment with the values of an increasingly socially-conscious population—will continue to mark the future of sustainable energy.

Though supply chain issues may cause interruptions in these trends, experts believe sustainable power production, across the board, will continue to expand.

Ember’s David Jones concurs, saying, “Wind and solar have arrived. The process that will reshape the existing energy system has begun.”

Want to learn more?

Interested in comprehensive solar energy management services that utilize proactive inspections, equipment fine-tuning, and preventive patching—all while making a social impact?

“Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power–meeting growing energy demand, while saving costs, adding jobs, boosting growth, and meeting climate ambitions.”

–Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)