Plantables Hires a Unique Workforce
Plantables is a worker-focused manufacturing business in Hudson Wisc. hand-makes products that beautify our garden and enhance the environment for bees and pollinators. Products include plantable greeting cards, clay seed balls and birdseed wreaths. But just as important as their products is their work force.The founder of the company Jim Schreiber, a former special education teacher, created the company to hire many of his former students who had no employment opportunities once they graduated from high school.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 15% of individuals with disabilities are employed. More than 80% are not even in the labor
market. The situation is especially difficult for those with moderate to severe disabilities. Barriers to employment include limited education or training,
communication challenges, difficulty completing job tasks, and lack of transportation.
Consequently, the Plantables work environment is specially designed to ensure success. Plantable employees often use assistive technology (e.g. switches) to operate machinery and adaptive materials (using "recipes" for products.) The Plantables warehouse minimizes over-stimulation. (black walls, low-level lighting) to benefit highly-sensitive employees. Schreiber was deliberate about choosing a for-profit business model. “These employees deserve a paycheck for a day’s work, not charity.” Schreiber hopes to inspire other educators to start their own worker-focused business to employ those who have historically not been part of the workforce.