New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) accounts for roughly 60 percent of GVI’s revenue. The rest comes from sales of scrap materials, licensing income, charitable donations and services.
Depending on how the state’s Office on Autism assesses a person’s need, DDD will support programs of several hours a day, for up to five days per week, for a number of weeks per year.
This provides caregivers respite and the ability to hold down a job. Not every marriage survives the strain of a special-needs child. And few families can afford to pay for day programs out-of-pocket.
Because GVI clients are paid based on the number of items they dismantle — as allowed by the NJ Department of Labor– their paychecks, tracked over time, indicate trends in their level of ability and motivation.
“Data from the past six years shows unequivocally that Green Vision improves workplace abilities required in the labor market,” said Mark Corradi, a founding board member of GVI.
Many parents contacted for this article indicated that the alternative to having their adult son or daughter in a program like Green Vision was for them to stay home alone on weekdays.
Carolyn P. of Sparta, speaking about her 28-year-old son, put it this way:
“There are such a limited [selection of] programs, I feel we are extremely fortunate to have found Green Vision and hope this program continues indefinitely.”
Solid data are vital for the State to show that public funds are being well spent.
The GVI data is very noisy. Unlike automated machinery (which is GVI’s competition in the recycling sector), human workers take vacations with their families, have sick days, and sometimes, periods when medications are modified.
GVI also hosts celebrations, games and events. Even with all this, however, individual trends over time can be evaluated.
Consider clients with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Such clients have shown amazingly steady productivity, on average.
Evaluating this data is a way of assessing the noise we might expect in an “ideal case” given that a control sample is not possible. Even if we remove the near-zero data points noting that the times line up with holidays and vacations, the data shows more scatter than a typical workplace can accommodate.
Most of GVI clients have less need for hourly consistency and show constant improvement over a multi-year period. A few workers earn minimum wage. Those who achieve minimum-wage performance consistently for an eight-hour stretch, can transition into main-stream employment.
Examples of earnings data over time are plotted below for several clients.
Note that because many clients do not attend every day and that the length of the day can vary, productivity comparisons among clients is apples-to-oranges.
Green Vision launched as a nonprofit in 2010 at a facility in Morris Plains, and its expansion has required two relocations in Randolph. Franchises have been established beyond Morris County: Click here for a full list of facilities providing training and/or supported employment using the GVI program.
Says Mark Corradi, Emeritus head of the Board of Directors: “Green Vision has a sound business plan. Those with a strong business acumen and a passion for serving the autism community, should consider serving on the Board of Directors.” Full disclosure: the author also served on the executive board.
If interested in joining the Executive Board and helping this business grow, please contact Tim Butler.