When it comes to good causes, Repowered has a three-pronged approach. Processing three to four million pounds of electronics a year, this St. Paul-based organization helps keep tech out of landfills, refurbishes used devices and makes them more accessible to the communities that need them most, all while running a jobs training and creation program for people who face barriers to employment.
“Our team at Repowered solves multiple problems,” explained CEO Amanda LaGrange. “First, we offer recycling services for your unused or outdated tech items, and we have the highest security certifications. Secondly, our Jobs Training Program means that you are also supporting our social mission.”
Many of Repowered’s trainees are formerly incarcerated individuals or have a history with the legal-judicial system and are re-entering society in need of steady employment and training so that they can gain access to housing and other opportunities. LaGrange and her team see to it that everyone who trains with Repowered receives an opportunity to learn valuable skills and acquire in-demand certifications that can lead to multiple career pathways and living wage employment.
An Altruistic Approach to Tech
At the heart of this tech company lies a deep passion for social causes. “We are actively engaged in both anti-racist work as an organization as well as work on ‘Right to Repair’ legislation in Minnesota and around the country,” said LaGrange.
If passed, Minnesota would be the first state to have a Fair Repair bill, which guarantees independent repair shops, like Repowered’s store, access to repair information and replacement parts from tech manufacturers.
“When there [are] only one or two places you can go to get your iPhone screen repaired, [manufacturers] have a lot of power to charge whatever they want,” LaGrange said in an interview with WCCO. The Fair Repair bill would change that, adding choice to the market while enabling more refurbished electronics at an affordable cost.
“Additionally, we recently partnered with Ramsey County and the MN Literacy Project on the TechPaks initiative, which got over 700 refurbished laptops, tech resources and support for Ramsey County residents whose employment was affected by Covid-19,” said LaGrange proudly.
A report by Ecotone Partners showed that for every $1.00 invested in this initiative, there was a social impact return of $2.43.
“We are working to build upon the success of the TechPak program, and would love to take it state-wide,” LaGrange added.
“We had a successful year in 2020 and have very exciting plans for growth,” said LaGrange. “We are actively seeking partners in this regard.”
Companies, organizations, and individuals interested in partnering with LaGrange and her team are encouraged to reach out to [email protected] for more information.
And if you’re looking to engage on a smaller level, consider donating your tech! With drop-off locations in St. Paul and Golden Valley, on-site pick up and frequent collection events, donating your surplus tech is easy. Repowered’s affordable refurbished tech stores are also open to the public. Check getrepowered.org/shop/ for more info and hours of operation.