Amidst the stagnant high unemployment rates across the country and gloomy job growth reports we've been hearing, there is good news. One approach to getting chronically unemployed Americans back to work is actually working: transitional jobs programs.
Transitional jobs combine wage-paid work, job skills training, and supportive services to help the long-term unemployed, those experiencing homelessness, people returning home from incarceration, and other individuals facing barriers to employment succeed in the workforce. These programs not only help reduce unemployment, but have been shown to reduce recidivism rates; reduce reliance on public benefits and lower taxpayer costs; improve educational outcomes for dependent children; increase local demand for goods and services; and benefit employers by increasing productivity and financial well-being.
The populations and industries these programs work within vary from state to state, and their models range from social enterprises providing jobs at bakeries or in landscaping services to helping women and girls in Vermont find work in the construction trade. While transitional jobs can take on many forms, they all share one main thing in common: these programs create jobs and change lives. How? Meet seven of the diverse members and colleagues of the National Transitional Jobs Network - a national coalition dedicated to getting chronically unemployed Americans back to work - to find out.
Doe Fund | New York City, NY
The Doe Fund's programs and innovative business ventures strive to help homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals achieve permanent self-sufficiency.
Bridge House | Boulder, CO
Bridge House just launched its "Ready to Work" program that provides homeless adults with paid transitional work where they can get skills, assistance with housing, and individualized support that helps lead to permanent work.
Chrysalis | Los Angeles, CA
Chrysalis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment.
Cleanslate | Chicago, IL
Cleanslate, a social enterprise of the Cara Program, provides paid transitional jobs in neighborhood beautification which have a dual purpose - invigorating communities and providing the platform to help individuals build the skills to secure lasting careers.
Rubicon | Bay Area, CA
Rubicon prepares very low-income people to achieve financial independence and partners with people with mental illness on their journey of recovery.
Vermont Works for Women | Winooski & Barre, VT
Vermont Works for Women helps women and girls recognize their potential and explore, pursue and excel in work that leads to economic independence.
Connections to Success | Kansas City, KS, St. Louis, St. Charles, & Kansas City, MO
Connections to Success provides a comprehensive network of services and support to help people living in poverty become economically self-sufficient. Their model includes two social enterprises, a bakery and a mobile upscale resale clothing and accessories boutique, that support their work of inspiring individuals to achieve economic independence.
Melissa Young, Associate Director, National Transitional Jobs Network
Chris Warland, Manager, Program Quality and Technical Assistance, National Transitional Jobs Network