Inside INdiana Business

Ingram Micro joins program to provide jobs to autistic workers

(photo courtesy of Ingram Micro)

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — California-based Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifestyle Services is participating in a program that will help grow its workforce in central Indiana. The technology and supply chain company says the e-Stewards ADVANCE+ program will provide jobs to people with autism and other disabilities at the company’s IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) Processing Center in Plainfield. The facility provides electronics recycling services for businesses looking to safely dispose of their IT equipment.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ingram Micro’s Ryan Roudebush said the program has shown great success with other businesses.

“Where it’s been piloted before, the autistic employees have proven to be very adept at working in the recycling field, which involves a lot of repetition,” said Roudebush. “They’re very productive and very loyal workers when they come on board. In fact, one study showed they are 98% productive when they’re on the clock and the average employee is closer to about 60%.”

Roudebush says Ingram Micro’s ITAD business has “greatly increased” since the start of the pandemic as more companies have begun recycling IT equipment. He says the company is looking at every avenue to add quality talent to its workforce.

“(Indianapolis) in particular is very tough to find workers these days because there’s a lot of competition among workplaces. So, we’re exploring every opportunity we can to bring on what could prove to be good employees. Over the past year or so, we’ve really focused on our diversity and equity and inclusion practices in our company and this fits in very nicely with that as well.”

As part of the program, consultants from James Emmett & Company, which focuses on helping businesses with disability inclusion, will provide training for managers and supervisors at the Plainfield facility ahead of the hiring process. 

Roudebush says the company has room to hire at least 50 employees right now. “And our customer base continues to grow, so that’s just for now; there’ll probably be more than that down the road.”

The program is being piloted out of Ingram Micro’s primary ITAD facility in Plainfield. However, Roudebush says there is room for expansion.

“If this goes as we expect it to, not only will we roll it out to our other two Indianapolis are facilities, but we’re looking to put it at other our other United States facilities in other parts of the country as well,” he said.

He says the company’s goal with the program is to find employees who want to stay, thereby lowering the turnover rate.