By Caleb Wilson, Vocational Director, The Arc of Clarion and Venango Counties Inc.
A valuable lesson we have learned through our efforts of connecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to community-based employment opportunities is that the idea of creating a business around someone’s interests and abilities is not commonplace. Some individuals have always dreamed of being their own boss and owning their own business. Keeping that in mind, The Arc of Clarion and Venango Counties started assisting individuals in creating their “Dream Job” of owning their own business.
The Arc and Walmart Foundation’s eXplore eRecycling Initiative has made it possible for us to assist a small group of individuals experiencing disabilities with starting a business that helps residents and community businesses/organizations recycle their old electronics in an environmentally sound way. From the development of the business plan and policies, The Arc eRecycling of Clarion and Venango Counties has truly been an effort led by these employees.
To comply with Pennsylvania’s Covered Device Act, we have held two free e-waste drop off days in both Clarion and Venango Counties. These events brought in over 4,000 pounds of old electronics that do not work or that people simply do not wish to own anymore. Additionally, several local city offices have started referring their residents to The Arc eRecycling for their needs and this has given us the opportunity to recycle hundreds of computer monitors and televisions. With a motto of “We take anything with a plug” each day customers have the ability to drop off any electronic. In order to meet the interests of some employees, The Arc eRecycling of Clarion and Venango Counties started creating catalogs to resell old electronics that are still in working condition. This not only allows the business to help the environment but to help individuals find reasonable priced electronics.