This article is a part of a series of profiles of CalChamber member companies that are contributing to the state’s economic strength and ability to stay competitive in a global economy. Visit California Works to learn more about this series and read past and future profiles.
In 1966, a group of parents came together to discuss how to create employment opportunities for their adult children with disabilities. They knew these young adults had much to offer the workforce and sought a solution that would enable them to experience the dignity, independence, and purpose that comes with a job. That solution was PRIDE Industries.
Fast-forward 56 years, and PRIDE Industries, led by President and CEO Jeff Dern, a member of the CalChamber Board of Directors, is now the nation’s leading employer of people with disabilities. So successful is its employment model, that it has expanded to provide jobs for those with other barriers to employment, including veterans, former foster youth, and trafficking survivors.
The company employs people in a wide range of fields, including, for example, manufacturing and logistics for the likes of HP, Inc., the General Services Administration, and the U.S. Air Force—all while providing a full spectrum of support services.
As PRIDE Industries has grown, so has the reach of its mission. The company now shares its expertise with companies of all sizes to help them achieve their diversity and inclusion goals — expanding the founders’ dream from a local effort into a service that benefits thousands of people across the country every year.
Few companies provide deep expertise in facilities management services with the opportunity for such a powerful social impact. Combining facilities expertise, comprehensive maintenance programs, and solutions-oriented management for reliable results, PRIDE Industries and its employees manage all types of facilities—from public and private sector to government, industrial, and high-tech. Services include:
• Operations and Maintenance;
• Custodial Services;
• Critical and Renewable Energy;
• Engineering and Environmental;
• Project Services;
• Grounds and Landscaping.
Manufacturing and Logistics Services
Whether a product is simple or complex, time-sensitive or evergreen, PRIDE Industries designs custom, end-to-end manufacturing and logistics solutions that ensure timely delivery, high quality, and satisfied end-users.
PRIDE Industries helps companies large and small — like tech leader HP and medical device manufacturer Avanos — achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings. And it does this while creating jobs for people with disabilities, eliminating waste and redundancy, and hedging supply chain risk with a domestic supplier. Services include:
• Medical Device Manufacturing;
• Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing;
• Electronics Manufacturing;
• Supply Chain and Logistics;
• Packaging and Fulfillment.
Inclusive Talent Solutions
As the business world reckons with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the “I” in DEI — the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace — often is overlooked. PRIDE Industries has grown its own workforce with dedicated, enthusiastic employees — 60% of whom have a disclosed disability.
The company knows first-hand that diversity in the workplace boosts retention, morale and performance. It leverages decades of hiring and training experience to guide other organizations to success through inclusion. Services include:
• Recruitment and Placement Solutions;
• Training for Employees;
• Training for Companies;
• Featured Employers.
You Don’t Hire an Individual; You Hire a Company
PRIDE Industries doesn’t just train and place employees; it provides wraparound support that ensures success for both the employee and the business hiring that worker.
PRIDE supports employees with transportation and ongoing coaching and mentoring, providing everything they need to excel at their jobs.
It also trains other employees at the business about working with people with disabilities and consults with the employer on workplace accommodations and safety.
• Commercial Facilities;
• Correctional Facilities;
• Federal Government;
• Food and Beverage;
• Military Installations;
• Municipal Facilities;
• Renewable Energy;
The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation
The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation provides the extra support necessary for people with diverse abilities to experience long-term job success. The foundation is named for PRIDE’s former president and CEO (also a former CalChamber Board member).
All donations directly fund employment support programs and the I AM ABLE Helpline, where live operators connect callers with jobs.
The Foundation works with individuals throughout their employment journeys to advance career opportunities and to provide access and choice. While PRIDE Industries provides the services and support, the people it serves ultimately find their own success through hard work and commitment.
People with Disabilities
Unemployment among people with disabilities remains high. As a result, many cannot live independently and must rely on benefit programs. Through training, job coaching, assistive technology, and custom job placement, people with disabilities can obtain and retain employment successfully.
Foster Youth and Trafficking Survivors
Former foster youth face daunting obstacles to entering the labor market. Studies show that four years after aging out, 50% have no earnings. Those that do obtain employment have an average annual income of only $7,500.
With support and mentorship during their first job, former foster youth and survivors of human trafficking are much more likely to escape poverty and lessen their reliance on government assistance.
Not all military jobs translate easily into civilian jobs. As a result, more than 50% of veterans leave their civilian jobs after re-entering the workforce, citing a lack of career advancement opportunities, an absence of meaningful work, and an unfamiliar workplace culture.
A Solution for Tight Job Markets
As companies struggle to hire front-line workers, more are turning to PRIDE Industries for support. Studies show that people with disabilities have higher attendance and attention rates and make the overall workplace more empathetic, creative and productive.
Quite simply, the employees love to work and are extremely happy to be in the community and bring commitment and enthusiasm that are contagious.
Benefits Outweigh Costs of Inclusive Hiring
There is a myth that employing disabled workers is expensive. The Job Accommodation Network’s 2020 survey found that accommodating disabled employees doesn’t cost a thing for most employers (56%) — and the other 44% pay at most $500.
The survey covered 3,369 employers, out of which 1,029 companies provided hard data related to their actual accommodation costs.
The study also found that investing in the welfare of employees boosts workforce morale and loyalty while contributing to overall business success.
PRIDE Industries was awarded the 2021 Global Technology SMT and Packaging Award. This award recognizes PRIDE Industries’ innovation in electronics manufacturing processes, engineering services, and supply chain management. PRIDE is honored to have received this industry recognition for delivering top-quality results for its customers across all its manufacturing services.
Work with PRIDE Industries
PRIDE Industries has partnered with hundreds of small businesses, large corporations, and government entities to build their electronic devices and their medical equipment, keep their grounds green and their facilities pristine, and package and ship thousands of products. Its inclusive recruiting services enable these businesses to qualify for tax incentives, achieve their inclusion and diversity goals, and attract social impact — environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) — investors.