Creating laundry detergent and jobs for adults with disabilities

Sometimes it's difficult for people with developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome to find jobs. But there's a new start-up company in Blaine, Minn. that's trying to change that.

Achieve Services launched last week to give people with developmental disabilities paid jobs to offset looming federal and state budget cuts for mental health services.

Daniel O'Connor, who lives with fetal alcohol syndrome, is one of nearly a dozen who are working in the factory sticking labels on detergent bottles, packaging the products, and filling orders. The company also launched a new line of environmentally-friendly laundry detergent.

Employees said it would be great to make lots of money, but they also believe the process is just as important as the end result.

"One of our goals is to teach people skills that they can take somewhere else and work in the community on jobs as independently as possible," Tom Weaver, CEO of Achieve Services, said.

And the product is already a hit. One company bought 80 bottles of the detergent, with more orders being filled online.

"It's how to get charity groups, humanitarian groups, social service groups, to really become more and more self-sustaining, rather than always relying on government funds," Mary Tjosvold, a customer who bought detergent for her company, said.

When the weather gets warmer, the employees plan on taking their product to local farmer's markets where they can meet customers.

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