Organizations: Rehabilitation Industries Of Northeast Georgia
Silver Lining: As it enters its 40th year of service to the northeast Georgia community this fall, Gainesville-based Rehabilitation Industries of Northeast Georgia (RING) is finding something of a silver lining to the current economic situation. Its services are being sought after by local employers who’ve had to cut back a shift, or who are simply looking for an efficient way to contract out labor-intensive jobs such as packaging and bulk mail processing, sorting and grading parts, assembly and packaging and even janitorial and salvage/ cleanup services.
A Helping Hand: The workers that provide these and other services are local citizens ages 16 and up. Known as trainees, they are referred to RING by a variety of community sources, says Executive Director Paula Phillips, as well as the state department of labor, which provides about half the group’s funding (the rest comes from contract work). Once accepted into the program, trainees are assessed for their capacities, attitudes and interests, and receive training designed to help them build the specific skills and attitudes that will help them find and hold a job.
Hiring Options: RING’s 28,000-square-foot warehouse is geared toward hands-on tasks such as bulk mail processing, assembly and packaging and sewing and manufacturing. The organization offers these services at much lower rates than hiring part-time or project specific employees. In addition to handling onsite contract work at RING’s facility, many trainees are placed within partner companies to fill a specific position. Those workers receive ongoing job coaching and skills training if necessary.
Individual Attention: Trainees are paired with a caseworker (in addition to Phillips, who has close to three decades of rehabilitation program experience, RING boasts a fulltime staff of 10, most with extensive social work backgrounds). The organization, currently raising funds for a new van, served more than 200 trainees last year, and conducts a school-to-work transition program for local high school students.