Tri-County Industries provides contract services and electronics assemblies for local companies in an arrangement that helps the businesses and trains people with disabilities.
Operating from 85,000 square feet of workspace at 1250 Atlantic Ave., the nonprofit group provides contract services to business customers nationwide. Its workers benefit from hands-on work experience producing products.
Under the direction of work floor supervisors, the workers sort, package, seal, assemble, disassemble, solder, collate, box, repair, drill, staple, tape, inspect, recycle and prepare bulk mailings, Tri-County’s website says. The workers also refurbish and recycle cable reels; assemble elevator kits; perform spin riveting operations; lubricate, stack, insulate and prepare diesel engines; repair metal skids; and prepare kits for elevators. In addition, they mantain rest areas in Nash and Johnson counties.
Draka Elevator and the Rocky Mount Engine Plant are two of its larger customers, said Brenda Cogdell, president of Tri-County. The products provided by the nonprofit free up time for workers at the client businesses.
“When we do packaging, (what is produced) goes right on assembly line, so their staff is not having to take time to put together small parts, so they can use their own staff more efficiently,” she said. “We also have the international standard to be able to do work for aerospace industry.”
Q: What products or services do you provide?
A: We provide vocational training to persons with disabilities and disadvantages, and we do this by doing subcontract work for local companies. We do a lot of wiring harnesses, a lot of packaging, subassembly type of work. We get referrals from human service agencies. They contract with us to provide the services, and that includes the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation services.
We provide on-the-job training. We do a vocational assessment first to see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Based on that, they participate in other programs, and we teach work behavior training. You’ve got to come to work. You’ve got to follow the rules. You’ve got to do quality work.
We also partner with Nash and Edgecombe community colleges for some classes.
For some individuals, they’ve never worked, so they are learning appropriate work habits. For other folks, maybe based on their disability, they’ve had a very sporadic work history, so this helps them get back into a routine and learn the appropriate work habits.
When they finish their training we have job placement staff who works with them in helping them get a job. We have job coaches who can go with them to help get a job.
Q: Who are your key leaders?
A: Myself, and we have a board of directors, and then we have a senior management team.
Q: How many people do you employ?
Q: What is your business philosophy?
A: TCI is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people who are disabled or disadvantaged through work assessment, job training and job placement. Our mission is accomplished by providing outsource services to business and industry. We really are about helping people move forward in their lives and being a support service for them.
Q: What makes business unique?
A: I think it’s unique because we are lending vocational training to people with disabilities, but we are also unique because our production capabilities match other industries.
We have been accredited for our rehabilitation programs for many years.
Q: How has your business grown in the last few years?
A: We have developed new partnerships with local businesses and placing people within their company, and we actually have partnerships (with companies). We have our employees in Draka and Rocky Mount Engine Plant and Lowe’s distribution center.