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The Value of an Inclusive Workforce in Facility Maintenance



(1:46) Introducing Chris Bunch of Pride Industries

(5:21) Military Service and FM

(6:55) What Are You Reading?

(8:28) Unemployment of Adults with Disabilities

(13:28) Workforce Retention

(18:48) Corporate America Hiring Practices

(23:31) Is PRIDE the Solution to These High Turnover Rates

(30:34) Education and Workers with Disabilities

(35:23) Closing Remarks


Shawn Black

Chris Bunch

PRIDE Industries


Good To Great


"It's great to be part of a team [where] you're not just there to provide an outstanding service delivery. You're out there to have a social impact on somebody's life." (5:11) - Chris Bunch

"I​f you don't want to choose to be the best, [then] maybe it's not something you should be doing." (7:19) - Chris Bunch

"Some people in the custodial space, as an example, experienced 300% turnover a year. And that's actually probably only increased under the COVID period because to be honest, hourly wages have gone up at a rapid pace, right? For the first time in the history, the hourly employee has leverage over over management terms of wage determination and price point." (24:27) - Chris Bunch

The Value of an Inclusive Workforce in Facility Maintenance

One of the most significant challenges facing facility managers today is the labor shortage affecting the workforce. Chris Bunch joins the FM Evolution podcast in this episode to discuss a virtually untapped resources for the labor market. Bunch is the Vice President of the commercial facilities services at PRIDE Industries, where business excellence and a positive social impact align.

PRIDE Industries was created in 1966 in Auburn, California, by a group of parents meeting at their local church. They all had one goal in mind: finding a way to help their children, who were developmentally disabled, find a meaningful path in their lives through employment and purpose. Over 75% of adults with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed, and the parents came together to close that gap.

Pride Industries has grown to a 6,000 person company, with 60% of those individuals having disabilities that created employment barriers. This makes PRIDE the largest nonprofit employer of people with disabilities in the United States.

Bunch lets us in on what helped their organization create the impact it had today. The top three takeaways include:

1. Passion.

If you do not want to be the best in your field, why are you there? Find a profession where your core values align with their mission. Bunch initially heard of PRIDE during his service in the Air Force, and years later he came back to work with them due to their continual impact as a company.

2. Perspective.

Look at the obstacles in life as opportunities rather than obstacles. No one knew what 2020 would bring, and if it were not a pandemic, it would have been something else. Create a team structure that expects adversity and pushes through it rather than waiting for the perfect time to move forward.

3. Solve with Structure.

PRIDE wanted to solve the problem of underemployment of adults with disabilities, so they created a three-fold structure. First, there is a staffing model where they recruit and train the employee, employer and staff involved. Next, they have the direct-placement rehab model that brings in a much higher degree of support. Lastly, there is the direct service model, which is their most competitive model yet.

Their most prominent message is not to have the world look at PRIDE Industries as a charity. PRIDE helps companies achieve their exact goals and values while simultaneously making a social impact. This will not only affect the individuals with disabilities, but will help your organization grow in its social merit.

The labor shortage America faces has caused employers to be scrambling for quality employees. We were honored to speak with Chris Bunch and learn more about how PRIDE Industries is empowering and uplifting one of the most untapped communities with rising potential. If you would like to learn about them, visit their website.

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