Shredding firm helping developmentally disabled

Lashawna Ford works the sorting line at SHREDability, a secure document destruction company which employs adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Photo by Jaime Williams

This Bronx business operates on a model of security, social responsibility, and sustainability.

SHREDability is a secure document destruction service which employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The non-profit is run in connection with AHRC New York City, which provides a variety of services for people with developmental disabilities.

But besides creating much needed jobs for those individual, SHREDability provides an important business service while being environmentally conscious, said Salvador Moran, associate director for employment and business services at AHRC NYC.

Moran said that the individuals AHRC deals with want to work.

“But the opportunities for employment are not there,” he said, so AHRC helps find or create them.

Employment is fundamental to a person’s sense of purpose, said Moran, and working gives SHREDability employees a sense of pride in addition to a pay check, which helps them begin to provide for themselves.

One employee, Jesus Placensia, said he likes his job at SHREDability because otherwise he’d just be at home, bored.

Jessica Saunders, another employee, said she likes that the job because it keeps her busy. And she likes her coworkers.

“We’re like family here,” said Saunders.

Moran said providing jobs for people with disabilities is about inclusivity, and helping individuals become productive members of society.

“The whole intent of moving people towards employment is bringing them into the community,” said Moran.

Moran said AHRC’s city-wide employment services started in the Bronx 27 years ago, and include a janitorial contracting service as well as individual job placement in local businesses.

SHREDability began three years ago and currently employs about 20 people, mostly Bronxites, at it’s shredding plant near Mott Haven. Jobs including sorting paper by color, manning the shredder, and helping with document pick-ups.

The business, certified to handle secure information under the National Association of Information Destruction, provides secure document containers to 400 customers, ranging from local businesses to federal government agencies, sets up a pick-up schedule, and provides confirmation when documents are turned to pulp.

“We’re providing an essential service to the business community,” Moran said, adding it is also environmentally conscious, with every bale of shredded paper – 1.8 million pounds last year – sold to make recycled paper products.

“Go green, that’s our motto” said Saunders.

Moran said the business hopes to grow enough to employ up to 40 people. While it’s still partially funded by AHRC, he said he hopes it will move towards being self-sustaining.

“It’s a wonderful business model.”

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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