GMA and the Bobby Dodd Institute Collaborate

Staff Report

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Atlanta’s Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI), a 501(c)(3) with facilities in Atlanta, Decatur, Jonesboro, and College Park, serves the state’s differently-abled population by training, teaching, and employing deserving clients. Legendary Georgia Tech football coach Bobby Dodd was a dedicated volunteer with the organization. The program dates back to the 1960s, known then as “All About Developmental Disabilities.” Dodd was passionate about meeting people where they are and building their strengths from there.

Joe Paolini, Vice President of Business Services at BDI, is just as passionate about the services BDI provides as was Coach Dodd. “We have two divisions that serve people with disabilities of all ages – by nurturing empowerment and finding employment. We empower clients and their families, helping them navigate what can sometimes be an exhausting and confusing system with regard to benefits and more. We prepare these clients for the workforce, and we have a robust business network.”

And that business network is where Georgia Manufacturing Alliance (GMA) is a powerful partner. “Jason Moss (CEO of GMA) is a brilliant connector of people, a great networker,” Paolini said. “We actually had a GMA membership for a couple of years, but we weren’t really using it effectively. Truly, we didn’t have the bandwidth. Then COVID hit, and Jason had done a really good job of keeping things going in spite of that. He created a huge, highly-engaged network.”

That’s when BDI, through GMA, partnered with a Georgia company to produce hand sanitizer. The opportunities have grown from there. The Bobby Dodd Institute has secured state and federal contracting and commercial work for about 400 BDI clients. From landscaping and custodial work, to call center jobs in the College Park facility, to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Murfreesboro, TN, to mailroom and other jobs with the IRS, FAA and the U.S. Air Force. BDI is training and placing differently-abled clients in jobs with competitive pay and benefits. The Institute recently partnered with Cisco. Clients undergo training with Cisco and come out of the program with a certificate and guaranteed work. “This is a real step up for people who historically have never had a chance like this,” Paolini said.

“This (differently-abled) community faces so many barriers, and it’s a pleasure to know that GMA brings its network, knowledge and support to the table to benefit these capable individuals. It’s a relationship we value a great deal,” Paolini said.

In fact, following GMA’s recent 15-year anniversary celebration, Moss donated the ticket sales proceeds from the celebration to the Bobby Dodd Institute. “We both benefit a great deal through this partnership,” Paolini said.

“The Bobby Dodd Institute is our organization of choice for donations,” said Moss. “This is a relationship we want to continue to grow.”