The communications senior capstone class brings awareness to unknown local business.
Professor Bayo Joachim’s senior capstone class is working with NoCoMo Industries to promote awareness of the business within the community. The class’ goal is to get the word out about exactly what NoCoMo does.
Senior Brooklyn Green is a communications major who is working on the project with NoCoMo Industries.
“Honestly, we had no idea what NoCoMo even was. I do not think a lot of people know what NoCoMo does and how much they help the community,” Green said. “I have lived here my whole life and I have never heard of them.”
NoCoMo Industries is a sheltered workshop in Maryville that takes care of paper, cardboard and aluminum recycling. The company employs people with disabilities.
Senior Veronica Maere is a communications major who is also working with NoCoMo Industries on this project.
“We realized that this project will mean a lot because they just need people to know what they do,” Maera said. “They need to know the benefit that it proves, not only for the community but for the employees that it serves as well.”
NoCoMo has been in Maryville since 1973. Nicki Samson became director of the business in 2010 during a complete restructure. Originally, NoCoMo was a thrift store operation that ended up being unsuccessful.
Now Samson, along with other members of the board of directors, have changed the way NoCoMo has run in the last nine years with the recycling operation.
The company is set up like a factory. There are seven work areas of the building that are utilized every single day: production room A, production room B, production room C, upper warehouse, lower warehouse, woodshop and yard. Each of these parts plays a key role in the flow of the business and everyday life for employees.
Samson said that NoCoMo is struggling when it comes to people knowing who they are and what they do. Some people do not realize that the workshop is open to the public.
“We leave bins out in the northwest corner of our building 24/7 where we collect cardboard, all grades of paper and aluminum,” Samson said. “We divert your recyclables from the landfill and then we are selling it by the truckload to be recycled to be made into other products, and by doing so you’re providing employment for our folks.”
NoCoMo also offers free recycling pick up for local businesses. NoCoMo picks up recycling from about 40 different businesses in town. They also partner with trash companies in Maryville that help them pick up recyclables from businesses and individuals as well.
Employees are able to work successfully because NoCoMo allows them to work with their individual skill sets.
“We train each individual with their skill set, and we find out what they like and what they dislike,” Samson said. “We find what we need to adapt in order for them to be successful.”
NoCoMo Industries employs people ranging from 18 to 70 years old.
“(Employees) range from people who have attended state schools to people with college degrees, and the neatest thing about it is nobody cares which is which,” Samson said. “Things go unnoticed here where it might not at other workplaces. The difference of abilities isn’t even a subject here.”
There are four paid staff members and 40 certified employees. Each employee has a job that fits well with their skill sets.
“We are a Missouri Sheltered Workshop, and what we do is we employ people that have not or could not be successful in competitive employment,” Samson said. “It needs to be adapted to be able to set them up for success, and as a sheltered workshop, we are able to do that.”
NoCoMo prides itself on making its environment safe, healthy and fun.
“I want NoCoMo to be a place where (employees) want to be, not where they have to be,” Samson said, “You may not be able to read, write or count, but there is a place here for you in NoCoMo.”
Each member of the group that is working with NoCoMo Industries created their own flyer to present to the business. Green said the group wanted something that the business could realistically maintain other than social media platforms.
“All three of us created a flyer that (NoCoMo) could use for different things,” Green said. “One flyer describes their recycling program, one is just more general information about NoCoMo and the last one is for potential new hires about how to get hired and why it is a great place it work.”