40 years of Changing Lives: Justin Baker’s Story

Justin Baker grew up with significant health challenges – traumatic brain injury and epilepsy with seizures that plagued him from birth. As he entered young adulthood, Justin wanted what so many of us want – and often take for granted – the opportunity to work and earn a paycheck. Justin had a couple of champions in his corner: Charlie and Weezie Baker. They were frustrated that there was not a workplace that could accommodate Justin and recognized the need for employment for what Weezie calls the “almost” crowd: high-functioning adults with disabilities who can’t succeed in a typical workplace and are acutely aware of not fitting in.

Established entrepreneurs who had built a successful chemical company, Charlie and Weezie decided to start another enterprise – one that would hire hard-to-employ adults and put them to work doing real jobs for real pay. They contracted to package a furniture polish product in their garage and put Justin and a couple of friends to work. Forty years later, Baker Industries has put over 11,000 hard to employ adults to work, successfully providing high-quality outsourcing services to dozens of local companies each year.