Tech Dump believes reintegration after incarceration should be the standard. Through their technology recycling and refurbishing social enterprise, as well as their paid, job-training intensive and career placement services, they are helping Twin Cities residents who face barriers to employment build new and stable lives.
For individuals who have been in the criminal justice system, re-entry is challenging and often comes with a vicious cycle of chemical dependency, unemployment, and re-incarceration. Many government and nonprofit programs assist with housing, counseling, soft skills training, and job searching, but do not offer on-the-job training and paid employment right away.
At Tech Dump, they wholeheartedly agree with Senator Cory Booker who said, “For individuals who have paid their debt, successfully getting a job and reintegrating into the community as a productive member of society shouldn’t be an anomaly, it should be the standard by which we measure the efficacy of our justice system.”
Tech Dump provides an effective and innovative long-term job skills training program that transforms lives and reduces electronic waste in the Twin Cities. The paid, 18-month, on-the-job training program focuses on supporting adults facing barriers to employment and preparing them to be valuable employees with expanding futures. They do this through their electronics recycling and refurbishing social enterprise. In this way, their benefit to the Twin Cities Metro is three-fold:
- Extensive job training program that leads to living wage employment;
- Responsible electronics recycling and refurbishing that lessens the dramatic effects of harmful pollution in our environment; and
- Refurbished electronics make technology affordable in our Tech Discounts retail stores, with prices 75% lower than traditional retail.
Trainees overcome significant barriers to employment. Most have experience in the criminal justice system or are currently in substance abuse recovery. In 2017, 67 percent had experienced homelessness, 55 percent were in recovery from addiction, 80 percent had a criminal history and 37 percent were diagnosed with a mental illness. Graduates go on to secure permanent, full-time positions at Tech Dump or other recycling organizations, leading to self-sufficiency and career growth.
The social enterprise also works to make electronics recycling fun and relevant, with events like their Robot Fashion Show. Each look modeled in the show is created using at least 25 percent repurposed electronics. The audience will then vote live for their favorite bot-couture, while the winning teams take home various prizes. This year’s 2nd Annual Robot Fashion Show will take place on April 22, 2018, in celebration of Earth Day.
Tech Dump prides itself on a business model that is scalable. For every 98,200 pounds of electronics collected, another full-time, trainee position can be added. They strive to continue their high-growth trajectory to ensure all individuals who are looking for an employment pathway have the opportunity.
To read more about Tech Dump’s social and green missions, visit their websites at TechDump.org and TechDiscounts.org or follow them on social channels at @TechDumpMN and @TechDiscountsMN.
From Amanda LaGrange, CEO and Founding Volunteer of Tech Dump:
Our earned revenue model subsidizes almost all of the training investment in our trainees.
While there are several electronics recyclers with an environmental mission, there are fewer with a workforce development social enterprise model. SEA has been great in connecting us with like-minded, neighboring organizations, as well as similar organizations nationally.
We are also a proud co-founder of Impact Recyclers, a group of social enterprise, certified electronic waste recyclers with the shared mission of employing people facing significant barriers to employment.
To learn more about Tech Dump, check out their member directory profile.