Dive Brief: Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated individuals find employment, has acquired Isidore Electronics Recycling for an undisclosed amount. The recently announced deal occurred in November and was financed by donations, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Isidore currently has 15 employees, many of whom were also formerly incarcerated, and had been looking for a way to expand. The company dismantles, refurbishes and shreds electronics from businesses such as banks, hospital and thrift stores. The company's sales grew by 62% between 2013 and 2016. The goal is to achieve another 40% in sales growth over the next year. Dive Insight: Many businesses are hesitant to hire people that have been incarcerated, making it hard for them to reestablish a steady income after being released. While Isidore doesn't hire people with a history of identity theft or fraud due to the sensitive information contained on some hard drives, it still serves as a model that the right group of formerly incarcerated employees can help drive a profitable business. Some recycling facilities already employ temp workers that are currently or formerly incarcerated, and commercial waste companies have been known to give people with these backgrounds a chance as helpers on collection routes as well. Formalizing this system would provide more benefits to workers, while potentially opening up new recruiting opportunities for companies. This may not be a common approach for some in the industry, but more companies have been trying different community outreach efforts to address staffing shortages. In California, Waste Management and Civicorps Recycling have teamed up for an apprenticeship program that trains local residents to become full-time union drivers. Based on EPA estimates, 1.57 jobs are created for every 1,000 tons of material, so the push toward higher diversion rates could soon create many more jobs in the recycling sector.
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