|Origins||The Great Depression|
|Focus(es)||charity, vocational training|
|Owner||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
Deseret Industries (D.I.) (i//) is a non-profit organization and a division of Welfare Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It includes a chain of retail thrift stores and work projects operated by the program. Deseret Industries thrift stores are similar to the well-known Goodwill Industries. They are generally located in areas where LDS Church membership is strong, with a total of 46 stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. As with other thrift stores, people donate items they no longer have use for (such as furniture, appliances, computers and clothing). In addition to donations, Deseret Industries also sells new furniture, much of it received from its manufacturing plant in Salt Lake City. Deseret Industries provides job skill training for the physically, emotionally and socially challenged and places them into private sector employment. In 1989 over 700 people were placed in private jobs.
Since it is a welfare entity, Deseret Industries provides useful goods at low cost to the public, and also provides clothing and other items for humanitarian efforts throughout the world. Some of the donated goods are given to people in the community upon recommendation of the local bishop, in the event of a disaster such as a fire or flood. The revenue generated through sales of donations is used to support other LDS Church Welfare Services organizations and programs throughout the world.
Deseret Industries provides work training and rehabilitation opportunities for people referred by an LDS bishop. Because employment at Deseret Industries is considered rehabilitative training rather than a career, employment typically does not last longer than 12 months.
Membership in the LDS Church is not required for training at Deseret Industries. However, the local bishop must sign an endorsement for training.
Training the individuals with disabilities and elderly
Deseret Industries provides an opportunity to learn new skills, earn money to help support the employee and his or her family, and receive help finding a suitable job when ready. Those in training are called associates. Some associates have disabilities or are elderly, making it difficult to get jobs at other places. The goal of Deseret Industries, as noted by their slogan People Helping People Help Themselves, is to encourage trainees to be self-reliant and become employable in the job market with goals to leave training and enter the job market.
In addition to trainees, there are full-time staff with titles including Store Manager, Retail Processing Coordinator, Job Coach Trainer, and Development Specialist.
Trainees of Deseret Industries do not receive benefits such as retirement, medical coverage, vacation, or sick leave (except for the above-mentioned full-time professional staff). Deseret Industries notes that this is the case because its goal is to prepare them for the workplace and encourage them to work in the community.
In popular culture
- In the film Napoleon Dynamite, Napoleon buys his suit at a Deseret Industries store in Preston, Idaho, where Napoleon lives.