We are thrilled to announce the 2020 Business Partner of the Year Honorees! This year, we are recognizing Pitt Logistics and Printing Services, Panera Bread – BkSq, and Little Earth Productions. These area organizations have made a commitment to diversity and inclusion by supporting our clients and our mission in many ways.
At Pitt Logistics and Printing Services, clients work in the Pitt Surplus Property warehouse on e-Waste and technology recycling projects. As a part of the recycling program there, Life’sWork clients completely disassemble and remove old hard drives so they can be destroyed as the last line of defense for data security. Pitt hired clients in the Small Group Staffing program to work at the warehouse three days a week, and they have been an immense help on the project!
Over in Bakery Square, another one of our clients has been busy at work as a front-of house associate at Panera Bread. Ronald was placed at the Bakery Square location as a part of our Supported Employment program and has been in his position for nearly a year, with great success! Supervisors were eager to take Ronald on to the team, and the staff who work alongside him have quickly become friends and enjoy the shifts they spend together.
Little Earth Productions hosts small groups of clients as a part of the Community Participation Initiatives program, which aims to get clients out and involved in organizations throughout the community. They provide packaging and quality control projects for clients to take on alongside the regular warehouse staff. Little Earth designs and produces sports fashion apparel and accessories for professional and college teams across the country – including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ own Terrible Towel, a favorite of our clients!
We are thrilled to share with you some exciting news about the future of our organization!
For some time, the leadership at Life’sWork has been conducting a systematic evaluation and assessment of our building on Forbes Avenue. The services we provide, particularly to the clients in our Direct Employment program, have evolved since we first opened our doors here in 1970; many of our clients now have the opportunity to spend much more time outside of our facility, whether in integrated work settings at businesses throughout the region as part of our Small Group Staffing Solutions program, or engaging with many different organizations through community participation experiences alongside peers and staff.
As a result, the space we have on Forbes Avenue is no longer ideally suited to meet our current and future needs. In order to provide the highest quality services to our clients, we began looking into a variety of options. It became apparent that relocation would be the most advantageous economic choice and would allow us to modernize our operations so that we can best serve our clients.
The Weitzman Building on Forbes Avenue has served us well for nearly 50 years. The facilities were designed to fit the specific needs of our organization, including being fully accessible and barrier-free for clients with disabilities. It has allowed us to grow and expand in ways that were likely never imagined by the team who broke ground in the Uptown Pittsburgh neighborhood in the late 1960’s. We are looking forward to continuing the work that we do at our new location in Pittsburgh’s South Side, where we have found a space at the River Park Commons development on Sidney Street that will allow us to create a more engaging environment for our clients and staff.
The space is being customized specifically for Life’sWork to meet our programmatic and our clients’ needs. We are very excited about the facility and feel very confident this will be a positive change for our organization. The transition to the new space will take place in the late spring of 2020 and we anticipate completing our move prior to June 30, 2020. Until that time, our daily operations will remain the same at the Forbes Avenue facility.
Duquesne University will buy the building and campus facility on Forbes Avenue. The school plans to construct an 80,000 square foot building for its new College of Osteopathic Medicine. Construction will begin in 2021 and they plan to open in 2023. We are proud that this new development will be so beneficial to all of our neighbors in the Uptown community and the City of Pittsburgh; it is a win all around!
The quality of our services will not be affected. Our goal for this relocation is to better serve our clients in a more holistic way, offering more opportunities to engage with one another as well as the Pittsburgh community.
We are excited about this next chapter in Life’sWork’s near century of service and are looking forward to continuing our mission and evolving to meet the needs of those we serve.
In the past few weeks at Life’sWork, we’ve been very busy working with Black Locust Lumber to create over 135 Proflow pavers that will be used as earth-friendly walkways in parks around the world. It’s one of the many ways that we are working to develop a thriving community!
Today’s buildings account for 18% of global emissions, and that could double by the year 2030 if new earth-friendly technologies are not implemented. That’s where Black Locust Lumber comes in: they specialize in green building materials – products that have low environmental impact in production, installation, and maintenance. Black Locust Lumber has a strong desire and passion for sustainability and creating a healthier planet.
By working with Black Locust Lumber, Life’sWork contributes to the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s mission and leads our community in sustainability. The 2030 District strives toward 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030, while improving indoor air quality. We are supporting Black Locust Lumber’s cause to create a better planet by manufacturing their wooden pavers right here in Pittsburgh! Our partnership can help make the earth a greener and healthier place.
Our journey with Black Locust Lumber began when we met co-founders Stubby and Maria Warmbold through a Green Building Alliance (GBA) partnership here in the Pittsburgh 2030 District Project. They told us that they wanted to give back to the community, so Stubby coordinated a visit from their headquarters in Hungary for a tour of our facility to gain a better understanding of all the services that we provide at Life’sWork. They were touched by our clients, our mission, and the work that we do, and wanted to provide our clients with work that would make a difference in their community by being earth-friendly and sustainable. From there, a partnership was created, and Stubby and Maria came back to Life’sWork for a training session to teach our clients how to assemble the wooden pavers.
According to our clients in the Direct Facilities Based Employment program, putting together the wooden pavers is a very smooth process. First, blocks sent to us by Black Locust Lumber are separated into two different boxes by size. The blocks are then set down in jigs that format the pattern of the pavers – some blocks have red X’s, which indicates that they go in the jigs with the marked side facing upward. Wire mesh is placed on top and stapled onto the corners of each block. Once the paver is assembled, it is stacked on a pallet and shipped out to Allentown to be part of Black Locust’s next project in sustainability!
Partnering with Life’sWork
At Life’sWork, we take pride in our innovation and high quality of services for persons with disabilities or other barriers to employment. Projects like this tie back to our vision of being one of the foremost business resources in Western PA, and we are always looking for more ways to partner with businesses to positively impact the community.
If you are interested in a business partnership like this one or would like to learn more about our services, please contact Babs Sefiane at firstname.lastname@example.org.