Details for TRADEWIND SERVICES - Ad from 2023-03-12

TradeWinds serves local business while building skills, enthusiasm in workers The General Production Department is a key program at TradeWinds Services for good reason. For more than 40 years, companies have been outsourcing packaging, sorting, sewing, assembly and other work there. Many local companies outsource work to TradeWinds, but the organization can also handle jobs from across the country. “It doesn’t really matter where you are, we can help you out one way or another,” Strohl said. “We do a lot of small jobs and big jobs,” said Lynn Strohl, Director of Industries at TradeWinds. “No size is too small or too big for us.” He said TradeWinds provides services to companies in Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and many other areas. Besides providing quality work, the Production Department stands out because it gives adults with disabilities an opportunity to learn transferable jobs skills that can help them achieve their individual goals. TradeWinds also takes pride in meeting customer expectations. “So, it’s a good training ground for them to learn how to properly do a job,” TradeWinds CEO Jon Gold said. He said a large portion of the Production Department is focused on sewing. TradeWinds has a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, and the organization sews gowns as part of that agreement. Strohl said many at TradeWinds are excited for the opportunity to produce items for the Department of Defense. “A lot of them get the sense of duty that they’re helping out with the military, and they understand they’re an integral part in regard to our United States military,” he said. In addition to the Department of Defense, TradeWinds has sewn items for other industries. During the pandemic, the organization produced more than 300,000 gowns for local hospitals, Gold said. Sewing isn’t the only type of work that can be done at the TradeWinds Production Department. Strohl said workers sort candy and other items for businesses. They also stuff envelopes and package a variety of materials, including medical devices and hygiene products. Strohl said TradeWinds has a large capacity with about 80 to 90 workers at the facility. He said TradeWinds handles about 1.5 million to 2 million billable units annually, and work has picked up over the last year. “We probably increased our workload eight to ten times,” Strohl said. Though production has grown at TradeWinds, the organization can handle additional work. Gold said each task brings another opportunity for an individual with disabilities to gain training. “So, the more jobs we can get, the better,” he said. There are many advantages to working with TradeWinds, including its competitive pricing for the services it provides. Gold said most companies are very happy with the work TradeWinds has done for them. “We have some new customers that have given us some referrals” Strohl said. “We do a lot of work.” Gold added that a company that had been located in Northwest Indiana was so pleased with the services provided by TradeWinds, it continues to outsource work to the organization despite moving out of the state. Customers aren’t the only people happy about TradeWinds’ work. Strohl said the workers gaining training are equally thrilled when they hear about a job. “Whenever we bring in more work, you will get a huge reaction from everyone all at once, mostly celebration that new work has come in,” Strohl said. Through the TradeWinds Pre-Vocational Training Program, adults 18 and older receive training in the Production Department. “A lot of the skills that they develop here working our jobs do translate over to jobs in the community,” Strohl said. “That is our ultimate goal is to bring someone into our Pre-Vocational Program and work on our general production jobs and then get a job out in the community.” He said those in the program have an opportunity to earn a paycheck from TradeWinds, and they use those wages for bills, utilities, rent as well as purchasing gadgets and other items on their free time. “It’s very beneficial to them,” Strohl said. Besides learning how to complete different tasks, the workers also gain an understanding of other workplace functions, such as taking breaks, going on lunches and learning how to work with a supervisor. Strohl said he enjoys training workers in the Production Department, and it’s inspirational to watch individuals grow at TradeWinds. “It’s really nice from my point of view working here,” Strohl said. “You get to see everyone get excited and you get to see everyone’s life change in front of your eyes on a daily basis.” 3198 EAST 83RD PL | MERRILLVILLE, IN | 219.945.0100 |