People with Disabilities

For many people, the first job out of high school is the most memorable one. Sometimes it’s even life-changing, as it provides a way to explore careers, build experience, and earn a paycheck. For young adults with disabilities, however, such opportunities remain elusive. Ultimately, this work gap can impede their skill-set acquisition and lifetime earning potential.

 

 

PRIDE Industries’ dedicated Workforce Inclusion team is changing this. Supported by generous donors, our staff works directly with youth who have disabilities and are transitioning out of high school. Recently, one of our staff members received a letter from Dee Morimoto. She explains how their help led her son, Tyler Morimoto, to earn his first job as a ship loader (stevedore).

A Letter From Dee Morimoto: Gratitude for Job Coaching and Support

Tyler and I would like to extend our appreciation for all that you have done to help him find employment. Prior to signing up with PRIDE Industries, he had no experience filling out job applications, creating a resume, or knowing how to look for a job.

 

You changed all of that.

 

With practice interviews, many hours on the phone, and customized job coaching, you helped Tyler build his confidence. All of this led to him earning a job as a stevedore. 


Thank you for always being there for us during this process—even after work hours and in the early morning to ensure that Tyler learned the bus system. Even further, you helped make sure that he obtained the accommodations that he needed to succeed—and worked with his employer to make that happen.

 

It takes a village to raise a child. This is so true, especially with raising a child with a disability. Having the right job coach on your side makes all the difference to becoming successful. Tyler now is on the path to personal growth, and for this we feel blessed.

Join us in our mission

Your donations make it possible for us to help people like Tyler succeed in a career that they love.
Dee and Tyler Morimoto. Tyler is wearing his stevedore uniform.
Dee and Tyler Morimoto

Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries, talks with Josh Santo of Conquering Chaos. They discuss the value of employing persons with disabilities and creating an inclusive work environment for companies and employees to thrive.

Josh Santo (JS): Today, approximately 30 million working-age people in the U.S. have a disability. 75% of them are unemployed. 

 

Our next guest, Tony Lopez, is committed to creating jobs for people with disabilities and is creating change in the contract manufacturing field. As the Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics Services for PRIDE Industries, Tony oversees multiple lines of business, including electronics and medical devices, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, contract packaging, and fulfillment. 

 

Tony, tell us about PRIDE Industries, the communities that you serve, and your manufacturing solutions.

 

 Tony Lopez (TL): PRIDE Industries was founded in the basement of a church in 1966 by a group of parents who wanted to create jobs for their adult children with disabilities. We originally operated like a true nonprofit but found this wasn’t sustainable. So, PRIDE Industries became a social enterprise, which means we employ the same strategies as commercial businesses. The difference is that any profits or surplus go back into reinvesting into our mission to create employment for people with disabilities. 

 

We operate several different lines of business, including packaging and fulfillment, electronics manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics for companies like HP, Inc. We also do contract packaging and fulfillment, including for a large hospitality food provider that we’re projecting to fulfill 5,000 work orders.

Workplace Inclusion is Good for Business, Including Manufacturing

JS: Besides solving workforce and recruitment problems, how else can hiring people with disabilities help organizations?


TL: If you look at companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings—which take workplace inclusion into consideration—they have healthier cultures, lower turnover and absenteeism, and are more profitable. And consumers take positive notice when organizations become socially conscious.


In the manufacturing field, employees with disabilities have high productivity rates and lower levels of mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, people with disabilities take safety seriously—our safety incidents are 30% lower than the industry average. Overall, the key to success as an employer is to offer opportunity and support to all your employees—with and without disabilities.

Understanding Disability and Creating an Inclusive Work Environment

JS: Can you help us understand what constitutes a disability? 

 

TL: Disability is a broad concept that encompasses invisible and visible disabilities, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and mental health and learning disorders. 

 

It’s important to realize that people aren’t just born with disabilities; some individuals develop them over the course of their lifetime. It might be harder for them to complete certain tasks, but focusing on their value is important. People with disabilities are capable, and often they just need the opportunity.

 

JS: What common misconceptions do you encounter about hiring people with disabilities?

 

TL: One is that people with disabilities can only do simple job tasks. However, we have seen that by adapting training and creating a supportive environment, you can allow an employee to thrive and learn new skills.

 

JS: What kind of culture is needed to recruit and retain workers with disabilities?

 

TL: Diversity and inclusion have to be part of the organization’s goals. To create a truly inclusive work environment, companies need to employ people with disabilities for all career levels—not just entry-level jobs. They can achieve this goal by assessing their workplaces and offering inclusivity training. 

 

JS: What kind of training and job coaching helps people with disabilities succeed?

 

TL: Onboarding is important. We start new employees by introducing our organization and culture, reviewing workforce inclusion support and accommodations, and explaining our learning and development opportunities. Training and support, including being provided with a job coach, is customized to each person’s skills and goals. 

We can help your business grow

We offer cost-effective manufacturing and logistics services in a wide variety of industries.

“In manufacturing, employees with disabilities have high productivity rates and lower levels of mistakes.”

—Tony Lopez, Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics for PRIDE Industries

Chris Bunch, Vice President of Commercial Facilities Services with PRIDE Industries, talks with Shawn Black of FM Evolution. The two discuss how private and public organizations can achieve their operational goals while creating jobs for people with disabilities.

 

Shawn Black (SB): Recruitment is one of the greatest challenges facing managers today. And today we’re talking with Chris Bunch at PRIDE Industries about a virtually untapped workforce.

Over 75% of adults with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed in the United States alone. What are you seeing in the marketplace right now? 

 

Chris Bunch (CB): I would say that’s correct. Not only has this unemployment number changed, it’s gotten more challenging after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, companies are now feeling the incentives to create an inclusive work environment.


SB:
Companies right now are struggling. Many workers are retiring, and there’s a lot of competition for talent. Is this a great time to hire people with disabilities?

 

CB: Absolutely. It really starts with the perspective of the employer. Ultimately, you’re trying to make a person successful in the role. That’s where PRIDE Industries comes in.


We help organizations in different ways. 
First, we have our Inclusive Talent Solutions line, where we partner with companies to recruit, place, and train people with disabilities. We also provide support and inclusivity training for the hiring organizations to help ensure mutual success of employer and employee.

 

Second, we have our workplace inclusion programs to place individuals into job positions with a much higher degree of support.

 

And third, our business services, including our Facilities Management Services, create jobs for people with disabilities while offering solutions at competitive rates.

 

In the end, for facilities managers, it all comes down to budgets and needs. Ultimately, hiring people with disabilities is not charity. You will achieve your business goals with the added benefits of increasing your social impact.

 

How Facilities Managers Can Create an Inclusive Work Environment

SB: On average, the cost of an accommodation for people with disabilities is only $500. However, in a hot job market, will gestures like these earn more dedication and morale?

 

CB: When you create an inclusive environment for a person with disabilities, whether it’s as part of a service or your organization, there’s a higher sense of loyalty. And it transfers all the way down. We have employees with disabilities that have worked on contracts that we serve for over 20 years. They have built careers, become experts in their fields, and create a premier customer experience.

 

SB: When it comes to hiring and management practices with corporate America right now, are you seeing companies shifting their recruitment focus?

                                                                                      

CB: Cultivating an inclusive work environment is good for business. We’re now in a world where social networking and platforms put pressure and awareness on organizations to increase their social impact programs.

 

SB: What is your outsource versus insource strategy, and how do you approach this inclusion metric?

 

CB: From a procurement or a human resource perspective, the impact is the same. It comes down to whether your organization has the resources to help coach and mentor people with disabilities, or if you would like to partner with a social enterprise like PRIDE Industries that can help provide these services for you.

 

SB:  What is your advice to people who are struggling right now to fill positions and are looking to increase?

 

CB:  Identify your insource versus outsource strategy, and find partners that can help. PRIDE Industries has solutions for both.

 

Need help with your facility operations?

PRIDE Industries can help you with facility operations, custodial and maintenance services, job assistance, and other services.

“Cultivating an inclusive work environment is good for business.”

— Chris Bunch, Vice President of Commercial Facilities for PRIDE Industries

Global, independent accreditor recognizes the organization’s leadership in providing high quality offerings for people with disabilities

Roseville, Calif. — PRIDE Industries, the nation’s leading employer of people with disabilities, has received the prestigious three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), an international, nonprofit health and human services accreditor. This recognizes that PRIDE Industries has made a specific commitment to put the needs of their participants at the center of the services they design and deliver, and that they strive to continuously improve efficiency, fiscal health, and service quality and delivery.

PRIDE Industries’ three-year accreditation applies to the social enterprise’s programs and services in:

  • Community Employment Services: Employment Supports
  • Community Employment Services: Job Development
  • Employment Developing Services
  • Employment Planning Services

“We are pleased that we achieved the acclaimed three-year CARF recertification,” said Dr. Jennifer Camota Luebke, Chief Rehabilitation Officer at PRIDE Industries. “This is a testament to PRIDE Industries’ dedication and commitment to continuously improving the quality of our services that fulfill our mission to create employment for people with disabilities.”

In part, the CARF report lauded PRIDE Industries for:

  • Providing excellent employment services, employee development services, and employment planning services.
  • Being highly regarded in the community and building positive relationships with partners and employees.
  • Holding safety as a high priority.
  • High satisfaction from persons served, families, and other stakeholders.
  • Longevity of leadership, which provides continuity to the organization’s mission.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

CARF International is an independent, nonprofit organization with a focus on advancing the quality of programs in health and human services. For those being served, CARF accreditation means that the CARF-accredited provider is committed to reducing risk, addressing health and safety concerns, respecting preferences of individuals (cultural or otherwise), and providing the best quality of care possible. The accreditation also shows that the accredited organization values the feedback and input of their customers with disabilities and is accountable to the community. And, finally, accreditation demonstrates that an organization has opened its service delivery and business processes to outside scrutiny to improve the quality of their programs.

 

PRIDE Industries has successfully maintained CARF International accreditation since it was first applied for in 1976.

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.

A Life-Changing Opportunity for Mental Health Recovery

In 2018, Saad’s life changed forever when he experienced a severe psychotic episode with intense paranoia. This episode landed him in the hospital, where staff diagnosed him with bipolar disorder, psychosis, stimulant use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Despite the obstacles he faced, Saad decided to take this moment and dedicate himself to recovery.

Through perseverance and a determination to get his life on a more positive footing, Saad became sober and earned employment as a busser. However, he felt ready for a change and wanted a more stable career. In 2021, Saad got the support team that he needed when he joined our Mental Health Cooperative Program, which is part of PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Department. From the start, Saad impressed everyone on his support team with his work ethic, and after undergoing a vocational assessment, he decided to pursue a career in pest control. Our staff was there to make this dream a reality.

Mental Health in the Workplace: How Employment Preparation Leads to a Career

At PRIDE Industries, we realize how important the role of employment is for emotional wellness. And we aren’t the only ones. According to a report by the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, a job raises self-esteem, improves financial stressors, and provides coping strategies for psychiatric symptoms.

This was certainly the case for Saad, as he takes pride in self-sufficiency and independence.

After his assessment, Saad took the initiative and researched the vocational requirements for his chosen field. He even interviewed pest control professionals. This hard work culminated in success when Saad earned a full-time position with a pest control company in 2022. Saad is now happily employed, and knows he can count on PRIDE Industries’ mental health cooperative team to provide any support or advocacy he may need.

“We are so proud of Saad and his commitment to achieving his dreams and maintaining his health,” said Georgia Bielz, Employment Services Manager at PRIDE Industries. “This really is just the beginning for him.”

“We are so proud of Saad and his commitment to achieving his dreams and maintaining his health.”

—Georgia Bielz, Employment Services Manager at PRIDE Industries
A photo of Saad, a mental health employment services coop participant, wearing a gray shirt.
Saad, a participant in our Mental Health Employment Services Cooperative Program
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.