May 15th, 2012

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Contract Services Keep Products Made in the U.S.A.

Made in America Buying American is starting to gain the same momentum that it had in the 1980s thanks to media focus on the issue from outlets like ABC and its “Made in America” series, plus “America Revealed” on PBS. A couple of recent stories by local media outlets are showing how people with disabilities in contract service organizations are doing their part to keep the products we buy made by American hands. Reporter Connie Jo Discoe wrote an article for last Friday’s McCook Daily Gazette where a manufacturer of a livestock vaccination system calls Slap-Shot credits the longevity of his company to the work done by people with disabilities through the Southwest Nebraska Area Training Services organization, also known as SWATS. Discoe’s description of the assembly process for this equipment indicates the sophisticated level of training these people bring to their manual labor tasks:

Jerry delivers his raw materials to SWATS clients... trained to use the specially-designed equipment that measures and cuts the long flexible tubing, and snaps on ends and secures then tightly in place.
Discoe’s accompanying photos further illustrates the variety of manual labor tasks SWATS workers perform for clients, which include operating a packaging heat sealer, sorting nuts and bolts, folding boxes, and applying labels. Jobs that sound small in scope but play a big part in keeping these industries making their products in America. Pennsylvania entrepreneur Lynn Elko cannot yet match the long track record of success enjoyed by Slap-Shot, but her bath products company is off to a great start thanks to its employees with disabilities. Scranton Times-Tribune reporter Jim Dino’s article talks about how the Emma’s Friends Soaps & Lotions began with Lynn making homemade soaps for the teachers and caregivers of her daughter -- the Emma whom the company is namer after. From that beginning, she had the brainstorm to give even more back to people like her Emma by starting a business where people with disabilities worked making the products. Elko tells Dino:
The whole idea behind Emma's Friends is to creatively employ individuals with special needs...We have 12 individuals who wrap and package soaps, and make dry goods, bottle and label them.
America’s answer to its economic woes historically have included measures to stimulate consumer spending. How incentives like lower interests rates, tax breaks, or even outright cash rebates are blended to achieve this depends on the particular circumstances and preferred approach of our country’s leadership; but unless we’re buying American products made by American workers, any attempt at elevating the economy will be incomplete. Using contract services organizations keep products made in America and makes life matter for those individuals with disabilities working there. Comments? Image by aflcio (Bernard Pollack), used under its Creative Commons license.

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