Powder Coating with a Purpose
Foothills Vocational Opportunities creates jobs for people with barriers to employment.
The question is often posed to Rob Wahlstrom, director of operations of FVO Solutions in Pasadena, California. The query is legitimate about his powder coating operation, and he is happy to put the prospective customer at ease.
“I tell them, ‘Yes, we have employees with developmental and other disabilities,’” says Wahlstrom. “And then I give them our references and tell them to call anyone on the list. We wouldn’t keep doing this if we didn’t produce quality workmanship.”
It’s a question Wahlstrom gets often at FVO Solutions, which was formerly known as Foothills Vocational Opportunities. The facility’s mission is straightforward: create jobs for people with barriers to employment, create opportunities that would not otherwise exist and have a vision that everyone with a disability or disadvantage who wants to work has an opportunity to do so.
For the past 50 years, FVO Solutions has operated as a nonprofit social enterprise that uses the methods and disciplines of a business to provide contract manufacturing assembly, packaging, fulfillment, mail house, powder coating and staffing needs.
“We have about 120 clients with disabilities who work in our factory, and about 30 staff members who help supervise and job coach,” Wahlstrom says. “We have 50 to 60 people we helped to get and keep jobs in the local community.”