Vocational Training and Empowerment Center (VTEC), a division of Opportunity Enterprises, recently announced a collaborative launch with ERI, Ivy Tech Community College, and Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation unveiling a new training program in electronics recycling. The program will create the opportunity for qualifying individuals to participate in a true post-secondary experience. Upon successful completion, individuals participating in this learning environment will receive an Ivy Tech certification in Basic Production Principles.
According to the Indiana E-Cycle 2022 Report, electronics recycling continues to the fastest growing waste stream worldwide, and Indiana is currently one of 25 states with e-waste legislation, which plays an important role in managing the significant volumes of e-waste generated each year in the United States.
ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet and privacy. It is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States and is certified at the highest level by all leading environmental and data security oversight organizations to de-manufacture, recycle, and refurbish every type of electronic device in an environmentally responsible manner. Further, ERI is an equal opportunity employer that makes employment and hiring decisions based on merit.
VTEC’s mission, as a division of Opportunity Enterprises, is to create inclusive and equitable opportunities for people of all abilities. VTEC and ERI understand the struggle to find qualified labor. Looking specifically at individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability, the Bureau of labor statistics reports in a 2019 study that 81% of this population is unemployed.
This training collaboration is a culmination of workforce efforts and comes at a time when employers continue struggling to find qualified workers in the industry. To prepare individuals to enter the workforce VTEC incorporates specialized teaching styles for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the fields of electronics recycling, custodial services and light industrial work – to name a few.
“With an increase in jobs and a decrease in workforce participation, it is important to share the message with employers that this is an overlooked group of individuals that represent an untapped labor force,” stated Neil Samahon, president and CEO of Opportunity Enterprises. “This is one of the reasons our new VTEC training partnership is so important.”
ERI committed to this partnership by carving space in their existing Plainfield, Indiana location for classroom teaching and a skills lab. The VTEC/ERI began in October and teaches students advanced job skills in an environment that is inclusive and supportive. Training uses course materials and hands-on skills labs for students to develop technical and professional skills needed for success in the electronics recycling industry. Further, organizations such as Easter Seals Crossroads and Sycamore Services are excited to refer individuals from their programs to participate in and receive VTEC training in basic production principles.
“Our mission has always been to leave the planet better than we found it,” said John Shegerian, ERI’s Chairman/CEO. “We are excited to build upon the partnership with our friends at Opportunity Enterprises. This work aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability and ongoing dedication to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce. With this program we are not only recycling electronics and keeping toxic e-waste out of landfills, but we are also providing career opportunities in a sustainable industry for people who are differently abled. We’re very proud of our relationship with Opportunity Enterprises and of the fantastic ERI team members who will become part of our work family through this program.”
In support of the partnership announcement, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch was on hand at ERI’s Plainfield, Indiana location as the program was formally unveiled.
“As more electronics recycling jobs continue to be created, this partnership brings extreme value to all of Indiana. The VTEC/ERI partnership will support and encourage those of all abilities to advance their education and secure jobs in fields which are in high-demand,” added Samahon.
Those interested in learning more about current VTEC workforce program offerings can contact Kate Ramirez at email@example.com.
About Electronics Recycling International:
ERI is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States. ERI is certified at the highest level by all leading environmental and data security oversight organizations to de-manufacture, recycle, and refurbish every type of electronic device in an environmentally responsible manner. It is the first and only company in its industry to achieve carbon neutrality at all its facilities nationwide, and the first to achieve SOC 2 Type I and II certifications for security and data protection. ERI has the capacity to process more than a billion pounds of electronic waste annually at its eight certified locations, serving every zip code in the United States. ERI’s mission is to protect people, the planet and privacy. For more information about e-waste recycling and ERI, call 1-800-ERI-DIRECT or visit https://eridirect.com.
About Opportunity Enterprises, Inc.
Since 1967, Opportunity Enterprises has worked to create inclusive and equitable opportunities for people of all abilities. OE is in the business of amazing people, with 370 staff serving 1,000 people throughout Northwest Indiana each year. For more information, visit oppent.org.
Members from ERI and VTEC gather for a photo with Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. From Left to Right: Brendan Eager, Carol DeBellis, Andrew Nunan, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Neil Samahon, Kathleen Parks.
The door to the new VTEC program located at ERI.
The Ribbon Cutting to the launch of the new VTEC Program. Members from ERI, VTEC, Opportunity Enterprises, and Ivy Tech gathered for the photo.
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Kathleen Parks, and Neil Samahon viewing the new VTEC classroom space at ERI.