Morris County-based recycling company provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities
MORRISTOWN, NJ – FEBRUARY 2020 – Atlantic Health System recently partnered with a local environmentally-friendly recycling company that gives young adults diagnosed with autism gainful employment and valuable job skills.
Green Vision, Inc., based in Randolph, will now pick up electronic waste, such as used computer monitors, televisions, various pieces of medical equipment and other devices, collected throughout the system, from Morristown Medical Center.
Green Vision is an innovative program that teaches young adolescent students and adults with autism how to properly dismantle and recycle unwanted electronics, also known as e-waste. Each year, Americans discard more than 400 million units of e-waste, with less than 12% being recycled.
Green Vision challenges its students and adults with tasks that allow them to use their problem-solving skills while dismantling a wide variety of devices in meaningful, paying jobs. The company operates 99% landfill-free, with all recycled materials going to federally licensed facilities.
For Atlantic Health System, which has been locally and nationally recognized for environmental sustainability by organizations like Practice Green Health, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Vision presented a great enhancement to its initiatives.
“Atlantic Health System believes building healthy communities begins at the most basic level – the environment – so we look for any opportunity to make health care more sustainable,” said Carolyn Brown-Dancy, director of environmental health and safety-sustainability. “Green Vision offered a unique way to help us continue to lead in health care sustainability.”
The company model not only works to instill pride and independence in the participants, providing them a means to earn money while learning transferable skills, but offers an environmentally sustainable way for local residents and corporate partners to convert waste into reusable materials such as copper and aluminum.
With autism continuing to be the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, the partnership is the latest in Atlantic Health System’s initiatives to support the underserved and/or under-represented in its communities.
“Giving young people with disabilities a chance to put their skills to work, in a way that makes our local communities greener and more sustainable is truly inspiring, and was a natural fit among Atlantic Health System’s initiatives,” said Armond Kinsey, Chief Diversity Officer for Atlantic Health System. “This is a partnership in which all involved truly benefit.”
The partnership arose from the efforts of one Atlantic Health System team member, Lucia Griffin, undergraduate medical education coordinator in the department of surgery at Morristown Medical Center. Griffin’s son, CJ, who was diagnosed with autism, is an employee at Green Vision. She describes him as high-functioning enough to not qualify for most employment programs which target lower-functioning individuals with autism, but not able to enter the mainstream workforce.
“That’s why this program is so unique,” Griffin said, explaining that the program has given CJ a sense of worth. “I don’t know what we would have done. There is such a need for programs like Green Vision.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one in 59 children in the U.S. has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In 2018, the employment-population ratio – the proportion of the population that is employed – was 19.1 percent among those with a disability, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
After seeing an article about Atlantic Health System’s environmental sustainability initiatives on the company’s internal, intranet site, The Compass, Griffin decided to share her son’s experience with Atlantic Health’s human resources department. That led to Atlantic Health System’s connecting with Green Vision owner and CEO Tim Butler, and ultimately, the partnership.
“I’m extremely proud of the opportunities we’ve been able to open to individuals with autism, and the resource we’ve given communities to help the environment. It’s heartening to find a corporate partner in Atlantic Health System, who shares these same goals and as a health care organization, can make a significant impact,” said Butler, a former special needs teacher.
Green Vision has agreed to pick up medical equipment and other e-waste from clinical engineering departments from throughout Atlantic Health System, which will be collected at Morristown Medical Center. Atlantic Health last year recycled more than 7,000 lbs. of e-waste.
About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System has a long-standing tradition of providing exceptional patient outcomes and experiences. Home to seven award-winning hospitals including Morristown Medical Center, the number one hospital in NJ according to U.S. News & World Report, Castle Connolly and Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals, the system has been ranked first in New Jersey in consumer preference by Monigle and first among health systems in New Jersey as a “best workplace” by both Modern Healthcare and Fortune Magazine.
Many of the system’s programs have received national accolades and designations, including Morristown Medical Center’s Cardiology and Heart Surgery program ranked among the top 30 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report; Morristown Medical Center’s Orthopedics program ranked among the top 35 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and Atlantic Health System’s Cancer Care program, New Jersey’s first and only National Cancer Institute National Community Oncology Research Program. Additionally, Atlantic Health System Neuroscience at Overlook Medical Center, working with Atlantic Mobile Health, was the first in the nation to deploy and use portable Telestroke technology in ambulances for routine pre-hospital assessment of stroke patients.
Powered by a passionate workforce of 17,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey, including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The system provides care for the full continuum of health needs across a wide array of settings, including Atlantic Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey with more than 1,000 physicians and providers, 12 urgent care centers, Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, Atlantic Home Care and Hospice and Atlantic Anywhere’s Virtual Visits. Facilitating connections between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.
With a clear sense of purpose and an unparalleled culture, Atlantic Health System attracts top leaders in the field of health care, from CEO Brian Gragnolati, who is currently Chairman of the American Hospital Association, to the numerous team members who serve as leaders across national clinical associations and research entities.