Christie Lane Industries (A.K.A. CLI) is a non-profit business whose mission is to increase the earnings of workers with developmental disabilities. CLI is most known for the JIT (Just in Time) light assembly services that it provides to area businesses. Because it has become so hard to find enough assembly contracts to employ its 120-plus workers, CLI is actively pursuing new market niches. Many of the best new opportunities are green.
As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The employees at Christie Lane Industries, the sheltered workshop operated by the Huron County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities in this northern Ohio community, have a different take on that adage. When the going got tough, the tough elected to make stylish ceramic tiles.
The economic downturn has been difficult for Christie Lane and other sheltered workshops around the state. As industrial and manufacturing companies left Ohio, so did the jobs they supplied to the sheltered workshops. Many struggled to keep employees with disabilities busy.
Christie Lane Industries (CLI) is an unusual type of nonprofit organization. That is due only partly to its mission of increasing the income and status of Huron County residents with developmental disabilities.
Under the enthusiastic leadership of Director John Schwartz, CLI has launched a number of "green" businesses, including document destruction, recycling and tile making. CLI Document Destruction recycled more than 125 tons of office paper in 2007. On average, the program shreds 42,000 pounds of paper each month.