RIVERSIDE, CA. — Phenix Technology, Inc. (Phenix), a 51-year-old Riverside-based firefighting equipment manufacturer launches Opportunity for All Training Cohort in support of individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. The 10-week cohort welcomed four incredible individuals from the neurodiverse community, accompanied by their dedicated job coaches, to an immersive work study opportunity. Candidates learn about the rich history of Phenix, insights into the products they create, and take a deep dive into their renowned lean manufacturing program. Over the course of the 10 weeks, they will embark on a comprehensive learning experience, which includes: On-the-job training, personal development activities, soft skills workshops, and tailored training for individuals with neurodiverse tendencies. Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in a job fair hosted by Phenix, undergo mock interviews, and ultimately celebrate their achievements at a graduation ceremony.
In June of 2023, The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) named Phenix Technology, Inc. as an EmployABILITY Business Grant recipient. The EmployABILITY Business Grant provides $20,000-$200,000 in funding to California-based small- and medium-sized businesses, like Phenix, to expand their operations for hiring individuals with disabilities. The grant funding assisted Phenix with strategically growing the Opportunity for All program they started in 2021.
“Starting with our first candidate in 2021, we’ve witnessed the amazing impact our Opportunity for All program has had on over fourteen individuals with intellectual disabilities, including several who now work with us full time.” said Phenix Chief Executive Officer Angel Sanchez, Jr. “This grant provided the support we needed to formalize, develop, and exponentially grow that program. It’s the difference between traveling at the speed of a covered wagon to now moving at the speed of Formula One car.”
The Opportunity for All program was started by Phenix in November of 2021 and has provided work experience opportunities for fourteen people, five of whom have accepted permanent positions with the company. The program has five components including: Targeted hiring of neurodiverse candidates, structured work study, development of a scientific academic training program for employers, identification and support of employers in expanding their DSEI efforts, and building of awareness with local, state, and federal legislators and agencies about the impact of expanding neurodiverse workforce development.
The Department of Rehabilitation will continue to announce EmployABILITY grant recipients until funds are depleted.
For more information on the Phenix Technology, Inc. Opportunity for All program visit https://phenixfirehelmets.com/pages/ofa
About Phenix Technology, Inc.
Founded in 1972 by fire captains Ronny Coleman and Ray Russell, Phenix Technology, Inc. provides firefighters around the world with high quality, entirely American-made fire helmets. Today, Phenix still aims to leave the world a better place while developing fire helmets that are always made “for firefighters, by firefighters.” For more information on Phenix, visit https://phenixfirehelmets.com/.
About the California Department of Rehabilitation
The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living, and equality for individuals with disabilities. DOR administers the largest vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs in the country, providing services to over 116,000 persons with disabilities in fiscal year 2022. Learn more at https://www.dor.ca.gov/.
About the Demand Side Employment Initiative (DSEI) and the EmployABILITY Business Grant
The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) created the Demand Side Employment Initiative (DSEI) as an employer incentive program to support businesses to expand or start hiring people with disabilities. Learn more at https://dor.ca.gov/Home/DemandSideEmployment. The EmployABILITY Business Grant, part of DSEI, supports small- and medium-sized businesses that are diversifying their recruitment by incentivizing them to employ individuals with disabilities. Learn more about the grant and its recipients at https://www.smallpotatoes.co/.