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It’s Time for a Repair Jobs Revolution

Fostering repair will give people access to affordable products, make a huge dent in the e-waste problem, and create jobs.

Local jobs

Local jobs

Repair jobs can’t be outsourced—who would ship a washing machine from Chicago to Shanghai for repairs?

Digital bridges

Digital bridges

Fixing our out-of-use electronics will employ people and bridge the digital divide.

60 seamstresses

60 seamstresses

It’s already starting: Patagonia employs seamstresses to repair their clothes—in the USA!

Unemployment wastes good workers

“Mass joblessness is a shameful waste of human resources… and now threatens to create an underclass of long-term unemployed whose skills are atrophying.”

—Economist Alan Blinder

For every 1000 tons of electronics…

Landfilling creates > 1 job

Landfilling

creates < 1 job

Recycling creates 15 jobs

Recycling

creates 15 jobs

Repair Manuals are Essential

Products are designed in the US and Europe.

Products are designed in the US and Europe.

They’re manufactured by legions of workers in Asia.

They’re manufactured by legions of workers in Asia.

Repair shops in Asia thrive on the information shared by those manufacturers.

Repair shops in Asia thrive on the information shared by those manufacturers.

Repair workers are struggling because they don’t have the information they need.

Repair workers are struggling because they don’t have the information they need.

Repair jobs are local jobs.

Repair jobs are local jobs.

Industrialized countries worry about their skilled jobs getting sent overseas, where there are fewer labor restrictions and workers with lower wage expectations.

But while jobs keep slipping overseas, repair jobs are not offshorable. These jobs are skilled, well paid, and continually in demand. Our stuff is here! We need people here that can fix it.

Repair is an opportunity.

6.9 million tons of e-waste

6.9 million tons

of e-waste was generated by the US in 2016.

23%

23%

of shredded electronics could be easily repaired or refurbished.

345,000 jobs

345,000 jobs

would be created by repairing 23% of our out-of-use electronics.

25% of jobs at risk

25% of jobs at risk

Economists Alan Blinder and Alan Kreuger say 25% of US jobs are "offshorable"—but repair jobs aren’t.

Respect the trades

Respect the trades

Manual jobs are critical to our economic future—these jobs are skilled, stable, and in demand.

Stop recycling

62x more stable

Manufacturing jobs are 62 times more likely to be offshored than installation, maintenance, and repair jobs.

Repair jobs are growing.

Repair jobs are growing.

Thousands of locally owned and operated smartphone repair shops have popped up in the last few years.

The electronics and computer repair industry in the United States supports 56,625 small businesses that employ 143,637 people, for a total of $19 billion in annual revenue.

That’s huge: if all those businesses were put together, they would be bigger than AMD, MSI, and EA combined.

Let’s bring back the trades.

“We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That’s nuts.”

Mike Rowe

iFixit’s open source electronics repair manuals have sparked a resurgence of local electronics repair shops.

Out-of-use electronics could help bridge the digital divide.

Out-of-use electronics could help bridge the digital divide.

Training new repair techs wouldn’t just create jobs—it could help get expensive technology into the hands of people who need it. There are approximately 5 million tons of out-of-use electronics around America that haven't made it to recyclers.

Meanwhile, the digital divide isn’t shrinking as fast as everyone predicted: 23% of households do not have an internet connection.

We get letters every day from people who have started their own successful repair businesses.

Owen Cunneely started his own business fixing laptops and iPhones when he was just a teenager. Robert Litt teaches students to repair electronics and simultaneously equips classrooms with desperately-needed, inexpensive electronics.

“Discarded computers are our nation’s most wasted educational resource.”
—Robert Litt

It’s time to fix our economy.

Let’s train up an army of mechanics and technicians and make repair a backstop of our local economy.

Learn More

Market research report on electronics repair businesses in the USA.

Bridging the digital divide starts right here at home.

Read inspirational success stories.

Take Action

Start your own repair business!

Take something apart with a friend. Teach them that what's broken can be fixed.

Support your local repair shops.