MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—The California State Congress recently recognized the Specialized Water Bottle Department as the employer of the year for the Hope Program, which provides jobs for people with mental and physical disabilities.
Specialized has been involved with the program for 15 years bringing in Hope personnel to help cap the millions of bottles Specialized distributes each year.
“It’s really about making them feel like a part of the community and like they’re contributing to something,” said Ryan Jones, who oversees Specialized Water Bottles.
The idea is to teach Hope clients job skills so they can integrate back into the work force, but many end up staying for years because they like the relaxed environment at Specialized.
“I have some Hope clients who have been here longer than I have and I’ve been here 11-plus years,” Jones said.
Jones uses about 16 Hope clients at any one time in addition to 12 permanent employees to help customize, cap and run quality control on the plastic water bottles at Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill, California.
Specialized, which has been in the water bottle business since 1975, produces about 3.5 million high-quality, polyethylene bottles every year for outdoor retailers, bike shops, sporting organizations and other markets.