Business employs adults with disabilities

By Teresa Paul

Gone for Good Secure Document Destruction, located at 1411 East Jefferson St., supports the community both through recycling and by employing people with disabilities. “Gone for Good provides NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) AAA-certified security, the highest certification available for secure document destruction businesses,” said Jenny Niebrugge, chief employment and business services officer for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Land of Lincoln, which administers Gone for Good.

“We provide a high quality service to the community and other local businesses,” Niebrugge said. “Our business customers represent a wide variety of public and private sector businesses throughout central Illinois and the metro St. Louis area.”

As a program developed with the purpose of creating jobs for adults with severe disabilities, Gone for Good is unique. In addition, all of the revenue generated from the document destruction services helps support other programs at United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln such as summer camps and the Saddle Up horse therapy program.

Gone for Good first opened here in 2009 with the help of SourceAmerica, a nonprofit agency supporting other agencies which provide employment opportunities for people who are severely disabled. SourceAmerica provided UCP Land of Lincoln an interest-free loan to help them with the startup costs for Gone for Good.

“We have two big pieces of equipment, the sorting conveyor line and the shredder and baler.” Niebrugge said.

From 2009 until 2014, Gone for Good was located at 1617 Groth St. When the UCP Enterprises building at 1411 E. Jefferson St. in Springfield opened a block away from their main headquarters at 101 N. 16th St., it relocated to the new property, which also houses White Glove Professionals, a janitorial and custodial business also administered by UCP.

UCP Gone for Good affiliates also exist in Birmingham, Alabama and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Springfield location was modeled on the example of the Birmingham facility, which has been in operation since 2006.

According to data supplied by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, every 1,000 pounds of paper records securely destroyed and then recycled, conserves eight trees, 190 gallons of oil, 3,500 gallons of water, 2,400 kilowatts of electricity and 50 cubic yards of landfill.

“People with disabilities are much like everyone else,” says Niebrugge. “They want to work, make money, buy things that they like. And they want to feel like part of their community. Our mission at UCP is to provide innovative strategies to connect people with disabilities to the community. Gone for Good goes hand-in-hand with our mission.” Currently, the location employs nine individuals with disabilities and Niebrugge hopes to see that number grow. “They have been trained to do the job and love coming to work,” Niebrugge said. “They especially like the paycheck they receive.”

“I would like to show others what people with disabilities can do,” said Claudette Hayes, a Gone for Good employee. “If you have it in your mind that you can do it, then you will.”

Teresa Paul can be reached at [email protected].

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