Editorial | Good (and green) model of NWC

The work done by the good people of Northwest Center, the nonprofit that serves the disabled in south Seattle, needs our renewed attention and support. Our story today about Islander Gary Pollock, who has joined the NWC to expand funding sources, shows how the nonprofit hopes to serve even more people and provide services to local businesses for a fee at the same time. NWC hopes to increase early childhood services as well as adult training programs. But most of all they wish to expand their model of inclusiveness — where able workers work alongside those with disabilities or other challenges and create a better work and learning environment for all.

Northwest Center has been around for nearly 50 years. Islanders and others across the region know the organization from the big blue trucks that rumble through town picking up donations for stores such as Value Village. Until December, it operated Mary Wayte Pool and other East King County pools. Others know the NWC workers as family members and neighbors.   The workers at the nonprofit do work that most will not do. Among other tasks, they sort, prep and package materials from plastics to paper to keep it out of the waste stream and be recycled for companies such as Boeing. They epitomize the concept of sustainable green jobs.

And many benefit. The workers are real assets, providing manpower for the company to pay for itself as it runs as a business. The workers make a wage, learn skills and find a place to belong. Everybody wins.

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