Special Needs Clients Learn Job Skills

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EUGENE, Ore. —¬†From the RideSource bus straight to work, Monday through Friday about 100 clients eagerly come to Pearl Buck Center‘s production area for sorting, packaging and shipping.

It’s a well-oiled machine where clients work according to their ability. Take the Yogi products by East and West Tea. Boxes are first assembled and then a team fills them. Mike overseas the process, making sure all tea bags are in order.

The production area has grown significantly since it first started in the 1970s. Pearl Buck now has about 80 contracts.

“Throughout the day, we are going to have 10-15 businesses who are going to have production work of some sort,” said Mike Hammond.

Contracts allow clients to learn valuable jobs skills such as finishing a task, physical duration, and simply showing up on time and ready to go. And that’s a good thing as business is growing.

“We’ve had probably in the last six months 15 new contracts,” said Jesse Hammond, Pearl Buck Center Production Manager.

One of the contracts is Maskot, LLC. It makes custom-made beverage hoodie sweatshirts.

It offers a special pocket for a drink, lined with Insul-bright. Maskot, LLC Owner and founder Tyson Martin started production this year and is now expanding to other universities. He’s contracted with Pearl Buck for final assembly.

A Maskot paper beverage goes in the pocket, followed by a tag. It’s folded and then off to shipping.

Martin says he’s pleased with output. Not only is it keeping business local, it’s helping others grow.

“It makes me feel good, and our employees feel good to be able to come into a facility and help to provide jobs,” Martin said.

These tasks bring a sense of ownership and pride. Local businesses are winning and so are the workers.

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