Employee with a disability at OE Enterprises working on the UNECOL contract

By Theresa O'Neill

Employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in America are devastatingly low. The numbers are staggering – nearly 80 percent of people with disabilities – roughly 24 million people – are not in the workforce. To reverse this trend, national disability employment leader SourceAmerica is working to build an inclusion economy – one that maximizes the talent and employment potential of people with disabilities so they too can achieve success in the workforce. International adhesive manufacturer UNECOL/SUPERTite has joined SourceAmerica's mission in the spirit of its own company values: driving employment inclusion.

According to UNECOL President and CEO Bryan Dodd, the company was looking for a unique, meaningful way to expand its SUPERTite adhesive product line into North America. Soon after, Dodd connected with SourceAmerica, which oversees a network of member nonprofit agencies that employ and train people with disabilities. In turn, SourceAmerica offers its network wide-ranging support services to promote business success.

"We hire people with disabilities across UNECOL's global facilities," Dodd said. "Employment inclusion is embedded in our value proposition. When we heard about SourceAmerica's mission, we knew we wanted to be part of it."

Founded in 1970 in Valencia, Spain, UNECOL has grown its operations across Europe and Asia. A key selling point of its consumer retail brand SUPERTite is that it adheres to strict European toxicology regulations.

"UNECOL/SUPERTite is at the forefront of providing safe, performance driven chemical adhesives in Europe, and we're bringing this chemical formula technology not currently available in the U.S., to the US retail consumer with the SUPERTite product range," Dodd said. "We offer customers a high-end adhesive formulation that's also affordable and safe for consumer use, greatly reducing the chemical footprint in retail stores."

Through SourceAmerica, UNECOL will be outsourcing SUPERTite's product packaging, warehouse fulfillment and inventory management to nonprofit agency OE Enterprises based in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Dodd said OE Enterprises' location, capabilities and business model aligned well with UNECOL's business needs. OE Enterprises also provides a supportive training environment to help people with disabilities achieve maximum employment potential.

According to Joe Bumgarner, Director of Business Development and Strategy at OE Enterprises, the nonprofit is excited to work with a firm that's focused on employment inclusion.

"It's truly a two-way partnership with UNECOL," Bumgarner said. "We help them and they help us in providing people with disabilities competitive jobs."

Dodd said he has high hopes for product expansion in the American market and deepening the relationship with SourceAmerica and OE Enterprises.

"UNECOL looks forward to the possibility of growing SUPERTite operations across the U.S. and doing our part in helping build an inclusion economy and further improving our brand's value proposition," Dodd said.