ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Have you ever wondered what to do with those old phones, laptops and computers that tend to pile up around the house?
St. Paul-based Tech Dump is hoping to help you with that problem, and not only that – they are providing work for an underserved population.
It’s not necessarily the career path Amanda LeGrange, the CEO of Tech Dump, expected.
“The transition from corporate to start-up was, I think, I drove our team nuts for a while,” she said.
Tech Dump recycles electronics for a low cost and in an environmentally-friendly way.
It also gives people who have faced prison time a chance to get back on their feet.
LeGrange started as a volunteer board member at Tech Dump, then decided to leave her job at General Mills to take on a leadership role.
“It was really rewarding to make fast decisions and creating opportunities that had some sort of barriers to employment,” LeGrange said.
She says last year Tech Dump worked with 89 trainees and about 80 percent of those had a history of incarceration.
Donny is one of the trainees, and he’s been on staff for five years.
“It’s a very great stepping stone, for people coming out like myself,” he said.
Since starting with Tech Dump, Donny has taken on several different roles to make his way up to warehouse coordinator.
“It gave me a platform, gave me a stage to showcase skills I didn’t know I had,” Donny said.
LeGrange says they hope to double their size in revenue and staff in the next five years.
It’s perfect timing as the company prepares to move into much larger building in the midway neighborhood of St. Paul next year.
LeGrange said that she believes in their mission, especially as many Twin Cities companies anticipate a workforce shortage in the future.
“The ability to provide the dignity of work…is just the reminder that everyone has something to contribute to the organization,” she said.
Tech Dump currently has 48 full-time employees and processes about five million pounds of e-waste a year.
Tech Dump recycles some items for free, such as laptops, iPads, tablets, batteries, and TVs that have flat panel monitors.
Items with fees include VCRs and DVD players, cable boxes, land phones and microwaves.