201 Allen Road
Atlanta, GA 30328
Chet Hurwitz Chief Talent Officer
Jordan Greer, Operations Manager
“Data management services and product fulfillment service by people with disabilities. Currently trains and employs 20 employees with goal of 50-100 in three years.”
I was introduced to and spoke with Chet Hurwitz more than a year ago and was eager to meet in person while on a visit to Atlanta. Due to Covid, employees were mostly remote during the time of my 1/14/22 visit.
I was invited to join the zoom team meeting and listened as excited employees described new projects including doing price analysis for a local restaurant chain. Some spoke about being productive while doing remote work; others expressed appreciation at the consistency and variety of the work.
Chet is the “chief talent officer” who also interfaces with potential and current clients including large telecommunications company, a big private equity firm, a large healthcare company and a global professional services firm. Chet notes the high rate of unemployment in disabilities population is “out of line with their skills” and that Ventures ATL helps to “bridges this gap “ by creating jobs that utilize their areas of strength.
The Ventures ATL Management Team meet with the client and help create a set of “granular instructions” so that project is broken down into small pieces. The majority of employees at Ventures ATL work on data management projects while others work in product fulfillment.
Ventures ATL is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide opportunities for meaningful and sustainable employment to qualified adults with autism or other developmental differences.
Ventures ATL is designed to address an important issue – Approximately 80% of these adults are unemployed (or underemployed), while at the same time, there is a strong demand for people with the skills these adults possess. While these adults may face several challenges in the job market (limited “soft skills”, transportation barriers, diminished community support in adulthood), they often have a relatively strong ability to perform the essential functions of many jobs. Ventures ATL bridges the “supply and demand gap,” enabling our employees to derive the personal satisfaction of meaningful employment and providing qualified resources to our business partners. We enable adults with autism to have access to a career path that is not otherwise available to them.
The Ventures ATL model differs from those of other organizations in Atlanta that support the employment goals of such adults. The Ventures ATL approach is not based on a placement model but rather the concept that we employ these adults as we operate a portfolio of businesses that line up with their strengths and interests. In that respect, we take a fundamentally different approach that is designed to complement the existing efforts in the Atlanta market.
There are two aspects of sustainability that are essential to the operating principles of Ventures ATL. First, we operate businesses for which there is expected to be substantial and sustainable commercial demand for the services and products we provide. Second, the businesses we operate will provide jobs that line up with the abilities and interests of the individuals we employ. This is designed to ensure that our employees will have a strong chance of deriving long-term success and job satisfaction.
We recognize that engaging with Ventures ATL may have a certain corporate social responsibility element by providing jobs to an underutilized but capable domestic resource. However, it is critical that our engagements with customers support their primary business objectives and specific needs. We are committed to providing high quality services at a competitive price in areas of need for our clients.
While we are structured as a nonprofit, we believe that our organization’s enduring success is tied to our application of disciplines and practices typically found in successful for-profit business enterprises. Therefore, we will maintain a focus on identifying areas where the skills of our employees can be deployed to produce true business value to our customers in areas of genuine commercial demand.
Data Management Services: Our data management service line involves the provision of data management and other related services. Many enterprises wrestle with various data issues. This issue is particularly acute with respect to raw or unstructured data. This type of work is frequently outsourced to many third-party service providers (sometimes to offshore locations). We believe that we can successfully fill a niche by using an underutilized domestic talent pool to provide top-quality service at a competitive price. The data management business represents a very good fit for many adults on the autism spectrum as their ability to focus on information and data in a highly literal way makes them particularly effective in this role.
Product Fulfillment Services: Facilitating the fulfillment process by performing the pick, pack, label, and ship steps in the delivery of products to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
The primary lessons involve staying focused on one’s strategic objectives and operational model while remaining open-minded about potential new business opportunities. The first lesson-there are many companies who like our mission and may want to carve out some work we can perform for them. However, this well-intentioned gesture may not be the best utilization of our resources or the best chance for us to add value to a client. While it is hard to say no to a client that wants to give us business, it is sometime important to engage in projects where we can add the most value as the client will appreciate our skills even more in the long run.
The second lesson is to choose to work in areas where there is real commercial demand for our services. Staying connected to market trends is one of the best ways to ensure long-term financial sustainability for Ventures ATL and success for our employees. It is also a good way to learn of new opportunities for growth and expansion.
The third lesson is to do everything we can to make the experience of working at Ventures ATL rewarding and enjoyable for our employees. While we perform many “mission-critical “projects for our clients, we try to do it in a way that promotes personal growth and enjoyment for our team members.