When Jonathan Kendrick was told there'd be limited resources available for his 14-year-old son with special needs, he responded with the ultimate answer: He created an opportunity.
When we first sat down with Jonathan Kendrick, CEO, Digital Technology (DT) Partners, to hear his customer success story with Wise-Sync, what we discovered, was that Jonathan is also the tenacious father of two boys: Elijah, and Gavin.
Elijah, 14, was born with down syndrome and a congenital heart condition, and was later diagnosed with autism. Kendrick and his wife Melissa, Elijah's mom, were told that when Elijah ages out of school at 21, the opportunities available would be "very minimal."
As a staggering 14 percent of all school students receive a form of special education (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019), Kendrick is ever determined to aid the increasing number of special needs adults.
After three years spent in the making, Kendrick established 'Work4Eli', an e-waste employment program, built as a division of Kendrick's company DT Partners, a leading provider of dental IT support, based in Rockdale County, Georgia.
Work4Eli promotes the environmentally-friendly disposal of electronic waste, in a dire attempt to reduce the immense amount of e-waste that eventuates in landfill each year.
"People with disabilities are just like normal people, and they want a purpose in life."
- Jonathan Kendrick, Founder, Work4Eli
At Work4Eli, employees help to dismantle electronics, everywhere from old computers and monitors, to phones and general electronic equipment, before preparing these parts for their certified refineries.
In fact, in a recent interview with The Citizens, Kendrick assures, every part that's handled at Work4Eli, "makes it to the appropriate refineries, and 0 percent ends up in landfills."
Kendrick states, there's "an important ecosystem here to consider," whereby Work4Eli doesn't involve any handouts; it benefits dentists by providing a service for the safe disposal of their unwanted electronics, it benefits DT Partners in enabling such a distinguished work experience and in turn, witnessing such gratitude from its employees, and of course, it will empower special needs adults through the deliverance of these meaningful work opportunities.
With Work4Eli's second work anniversary fast approaching, Kendrick reflects on his establishment's progress to-date.
"It has been amazing for our company and culture. All of the Work4Eli employees are diligent workers who are proud to have a job. In fact, for most in the program, it's the first paycheck they've ever received. They are part of our workforce. They have their own P&L, and attend our [DT Partners] company events. They truly are part of our team," says Kendrick.
Looking to the future, Jonathan Kendrick hopes that Work4Eli will pave the way for more meaningful work opportunities for special needs adults.
We do, too! If you would like to find out more about Work4Eli, please visit here.
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