OGDEN -- If the new president of Enable Industries has his way, he'll not only create jobs for people with disabilities but he'll also save money for area businesses.
John M. Felt, 63, started work recently at the nonprofit agency that employs more than 100 people with disabilities on site and works to place others with area employers.
Currently, the operation has about 40 people working at area businesses, he said.
"We'll never meet our goals thinking government is the solution," Felt said. "Our message to for-profit businesses is, we have something we can offer you. We can meet your corporate goals and our mission goals as we reduce your cost of operation."
Felt said everyone wins when individuals who previously were a drain on the economy become tax-paying citizens.
"Our mission is to provide paychecks to individuals with disabilities that normally wouldn't be employed," he said. "We've got a great opportunity to grow in this organization, and we're excited about that."
Through creative solutions and partnering with the community, Felt believes, Enable Industries will be able to address community economic pressures while at the same time finding jobs for those with disabilities.
A native of Provo, Felt has lived and worked in Illinois, Florida, Maryland and Philadelphia but returned recently to South Jordan with plans to move to Weber County for his new job.
"This mission is one of the best jobs you can have in the world," he said. "Every day, you can talk to the people we serve. They are glad to have a job, and they are glad to be here."
Felt has worked in the social service field of job creation, job training and job placement for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment for 20 years, according to his biography.
But his entrepreneurial and business experience spans more than another two decades beyond that.
Most recently, he served as CEO and executive director of The Arc of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Developmental Disabilities Corporation.
Felt said his experience there will help him in serving Enable Industries.
"We were heavily regulated in stressful environments," he said. "There was never enough money. We had to get creative and go out to get support from the outside."
Felt also has worked as director of special programs for children and adults in Community Vision and Grafton Schools in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
There, he helped create programs that brought education, community inclusion and community-integrated employment to hundreds of adults with special needs.
Felt's experience also includes three years as CEO of Ute Tribal Enterprises, which brings jobs to American Indians living on reservations.