LA-Based Project Looks to Provide 500 Second-Chance Jobs

We Own PGM – a catalytic converter recycling group – aims to bring 500 second-chance jobs for ex-convicts and former gang members, along with auto repair shop support to the LA area.

We Own PGM aims to provide 500 second-chance jobs for ex-convicts and former gang members in the LA area.
We Own PGM aims to provide 500 second-chance jobs for ex-convicts and former gang members in the LA area.

Ever wondered why exhaust work on your car (just a rusty pipe, right?) can be so expensive? Enter the catalytic converter; a metal labyrinth of exhaust fume-cleaning wizardry. Well, it’s not exactly magic. A plethora of valuable metals, or PGMs (Platinum Group Metals) line the inside of these converters, hence the high price for replacement.

These valuable metals include platinum, rhodium, and palladium. When catalytic converters need to be replaced, the old ones are usually either given away for free, or for pennies on the dollar.

However, the catalytic converter recycling industry is a multi-billion-dollar business, and the high turnaround is why catalytic converters draw the attention of thieves.

Sadly, many automotive shops around the country don’t know what they’re missing when they give away old catalytic converters. We Own PGM, an LA-based project, looks to flip that notion on its head.

The company is organizing the recycling process, which includes gathering old catalytic converters, processing, and smelting the PGMs.

 “We Own PGM is an LA-based project with two goals: create 500 second-chance jobs for former gang members and ex-convicts and provide much-needed extra income for independent auto repair shops in LA County,” says Team Leader David Charbonnet.

The inside of a catalyic converter contains valuable PGMs (Platinum Group Metals)
The inside of a catalyic converter contains valuable PGMs (Platinum Group Metals)

Marc Schechtman, one of the leaders at We Own PGM, has experience working with Homeboy Industries – the largest gang rehabilitation facility in the world – in LA. Marc hired graduates from Homeboy and had a good experience with them in the workplace.

Once word of We Own PGM reached him, Marc immediately recognized an opportunity to provide second-chance jobs for ex-convicts and former gang members in the area.

We Own PGM will handle the training and management of ex-convicts and former gang members who have graduated from rehabilitation programs in LA. They will be the ones who collect and manage the recycling process. We Own PGM also plans to invest in equipment and operations in the Los Angeles area.

The company will also offer 25% more for their catalytic converters to the 4,000+ local auto repair shops in the region. This increase will help the many financially-behind shops catch up on bills and purchase updated equipment that is safer and more efficient.

We Own PGM plans to offer 25% more to shops for their old catalytic converters.
We Own PGM plans to offer 25% more to shops for their old catalytic converters.

Al Duchek, owner of Colonial Garage in La Jolla, is also involved in We Own PGM. He decided to get on board as well, saying, “I met Marc Schechtman through a long-term customer and friend. Marc showed me the multi-billion-dollar annual catalytic converter recycling industry. Together, we created a plan, We Own PGM, to give auto repair shops our fair share from the converters. Marc also had experience hiring second-chance employees from Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Men and women who have been incarcerated can find it very difficult to get a job. Marc and I decided to hire these second-chance employees at We Own PGM.”

With an opportunity to get jobs for ex-convicts and former gang members, as well as helping the local community, We Own PGM is a win-win. The recycling process also prevents old catalytic converters from sitting in landfills and makes the entire industry more efficient.

I think Al Duchek says it best: We Own PGM is not a non-profit company; we are not communists. We created this company to deliver as much profit to the auto repair shops as possible and create second-chance jobs for as many as 500 men and women. Our website may be simple, but it tells our story and invites auto repair shops to contact Marc to earn their fair share from this multi-billion-dollar industry.”

Please check out https://weownpgm.com/ for more information.

 

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