HELENA — Friday Feb. 28 is 406 Recycling’s monthly recycling drive at The Good Samaritan Thrift Store in Helena. It also marks their 6 month anniversary of partnering with West Mont to provide meaningful employment to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Disassembling every part of a computer can be complicated and tedious work. Screws, drives, circuitry and wires all need to be removed and sorted before they’re recycled.
“It’s pretty cool,” said 406 Recycling employee Nick Salveson. “Taking apart televisions, towers, all sorts of stuff.”
Like his coworkers, Nick is fascinated with technology and loves sports. He just also happens to live with a developmental disability.
“Nick’s incredibly enthusiastic, he’s very thorough,” said Matt Elsaesser, 406 Recycling owner. “He’s very jolly, but he’s also very serious about his work.”
Elsaesser ran Helena Industries Big Sky E-Recycling until the organization shut down the program.
When Helena Industries closed their doors in 2018, more than 60 individuals with disabilities were left jobless.
“Based on [Big Sky E-Recycling program] it’s always been my goal as this company grew to incorporate work experience and job opportunities such as we’re seeing today,” said Elsaesser. “West Mont approached us with an excellent candidate and we hope to do more as we continue to grow.”
West Mont currently has 71 developmentally disabled clients on their payroll plus an additional 51 clients employed in the community. 22 of those clients were formerly employed at Helena Industries.
Nick’s employment at 406 Recycling is made possible through West Mont’s Supported Employment program.
Supported Employment helps with resumes, mock interviews, dressing for success, on the job training and continued on the job coaching if needed. Clients work at a variety of locations throughout Helena including: Capital City Health Club, Van's Thriftway, Taco Bell, 406 Capital Laundry, Mackenzie River Pizza, St. Peter's Hospital and more.
West Mont Job Coach Ryan McClain says employment is very important to many of West Mont’s clients.
Just like anyone, they want to feel a sense of accomplishment.
“This job has been huge for Nick. I’ve such a boost in his confidence and he’s always excited when I pick him up for work,” said McClain. “Everyone has that drive, that their efforts are worth something or valid. I think it’s a great thing for any employer to be able to hire anyone whether it’s a physical or mental disability, because they have that desire to achieve and do things as well.”
406 Recycling hope to add more employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the future, and strongly encourages other businesses to consider employing individuals with developmental disabilities.