How Adults With Disabilities Became 25% of FSC’s Workforce

At the recent Anthesis Annual Gala event, FSC president, John Watkins, was invited to be the keynote speaker where he spoke about the partnership between the two companies and the growth of the Anthesis team within FSC. He also shared tips for how to successfully integrate adults with disabilities into your workforce.

Anthesis, a nonprofit that helps the mentally disabled find work, has been a partner with FSC since 2013. Three teams of Anthesis workers function within the FSC organization in the testing, light assembly and quality-assurance departments. At the start of the relationship, FSC set a company goal to have 20% of its direct labor be comprised of developmentally disabled workers. Today close to 30% of its workforce is made up of Anthesis workers, and that number continues to grow.

In his speech, Watkins spoke FSC’s condition back in 2013, when FSC was reinventing itself as an LED rather than fluorescent lights manufacturer. As the company learned how to navigate the evolving industry, the Anthesis team worked side by side with FSC employees learning the new products, processes and manufacturing requirements.


Since then, the team has grown significantly, and Watkins was quick to show his gratitude for the team. When speaking about ways in which the Anthesis team has impacted the culture at FSC, Watkins touched on how impressed he was with the speed at which the Anthesis team was able to take on new tasks.


“We have a section of the building set up with an assembly line for Anthesis,” says Watkins. “But they’re not always there. They’re moving around, learning something new every day.”

Not only do the Anthesis workers learn and adapt quickly, but Watkins noted the incredible quality of work and attention to detail of the Anthesis team.

“We have a disproportionate percentage of quality control catches that happen on the Anthesis team,” says Watkins. “The attention to detail is phenomenal. Phenomenal.”

When it comes to incorporating adults with disabilities into your workforce, Watkins stressed the importance of truly making them a part of your team. Though technically employed by Anthesis, the team is treated exactly like all FSC employees. When ComEd had to come shut off power for a day to do repairs, the company was given the day off with pay, and the same went for the Anthesis team.

“To be really successful at incorporating a program like this into your business, you need to be invested in the team,” says Watkins. “If you make them a part of your team, you treat them like everyone else. And I’m grateful to learn from them every day.”

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can provide work to those who need it by incorporating Anthesis workers into your business, visit


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