In a downsized marketplace, E-Structors recycling center has emerged as a viable employment resource for Our Daily Bread Employment Center. Since November 2010, the company that recycles electronics and destroys paper documents has hired 38 people who were referred by the Center’s Employment Services.

The relationship with the Elkridge-based company began at a human resource conference. As the guest of ODBEC volunteer Susan Middaugh, ODBEC Placement Manager Pat Bennett was introduced to E-Structors CEO Julie Keough.

“Since I’m always looking for employers who are willing to hire our clients, I made a pitch about how our clients are screened and job ready,” says Bennett. Applicants who had completed the Center’s Work 4 Success job readiness program (see article at that includes best employee practices, résumé writing, and mock interviews have proven to be the company’s most retentive employees.

An endorsement for hiring Work 4 Success graduates comes directly from Keough who created a chart that compares the retention rate of ODBEC referrals with that of temporary agencies and direct hires. The data shows ODBEC hires have a 62 percent retention rate after more than 90 days compared with only 10 percent for temp agency hires and 22 percent for direct hires.

“Our clients who are hired at E-Structors have gained entry into the growing field of green jobs,” says Bennett. As the region’s only facility to have certification from Responsible Recycling and the International Organization for Standardization for adherence to environmental management, E-Structors employees must follow proper procedures in their jobs as dismantlers and refurbishers. After completing a week of classroom instruction, employees get hands-on experience in working at a designated process station that includes identifying hazardous material.

All items are bar coded upon entry to track from arrival to destruction. Material is transported from workplaces that include businesses and government agencies to an on-site destruction system. Processing steel, glass, plastic and precious metals, employees determine whether the item is to be reused, repurposed, refurbished or shredded. Refurbished items include laptops, flat screen televisions, LCD screens, and desktop computers. Electronics material is shredded into 1.5 inch pieces that render all critical or sensitive data irretrievable. An on-site paper destruction system pulverizes documents into small half inch pieces with all clients receiving a certificate of destruction or recycling. Nothing from E-Structors ever enters the nation’s waste system.

Keough says that the company believes in investing in its 170 employees, offering numerous opportunities for self-development. These include tuition reimbursement, certification in computer repair, ways to improve one’s credit score, 10 leadership classes that make participants eligible for a salary increase, and GED classes at the local community college.

“I have a passion for helping people,” says Keough. “We want to create an environment where people who don’t have a lot of skills when they enter will definitely have them when they leave.”