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Colorado Springs recycling business hires employees with disabilities

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A recycling company from Colorado Springs is growing, and they are crediting their success to their employees.

Ten years ago, when Blue Star Recyclers first started, their mission was to hire people with disabilities who normally have trouble getting a job.

Blue Star Recyclers President Sam Morris says, "They're a superior workforce so it's just they come in with a great attitude every day, and that's a hard thing to find."

One of their employees, Danny Hennessy, has autism and has worked there for six years.

"I used to be bad when I was a kid, and now I can multitask when I'm working," Hennessy said.

He says getting a job wasn't always easy, explaining, "There were some companies I felt like wouldn't hire someone with disabilities like Kmart or Target, even Walmart."

He's among the 50 other employees who all have their own disabilities.

Zach Anderson leads the front of the warehouse.

"At least from what I've been told is I have a case of Asperger [Syndrome] but what the doctors say is it's a non-textbook case," Anderson said.

Leigh Schilling, who works in the back destroying hard drives, has ADHD. 

"For people who do try to get jobs with disabilities, when an employer sees them, they automatically say, 'Oh well they can't do much' just by how they look or how they talk," Schilling said.

While their skills are different from the rest of us, Morris explains it's what makes them better.

"If you could have a guarantee that your employee would show up to work every single day, not only that but have close 100 percent engagement on what that job task is every single day, what's that worth?" Morris said.

For employees like Hennessy, it's worth everything. It will allow him to complete his ultimate goal.

"I do want to live on my own. I don't want to live with my parents," he says.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 20% of people with disabilities are employed. According to the Autism Speaks organization, the number goes down to 10% for those with autism.


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