Barriers to employment can take many forms. Examples of individuals with barriers to employment include those with a physical or mental or developmental disability, the long-term unemployed or the inexperienced. The barrier may also be their age, culture or language.
Over 7,000 people in the DTES collect government social assistance. These individuals are able to make between $200 and $800 a month while retaining their supports. Our hope is to connect these residents with local employers who have paid work opportunities.
According to a study conducted in the summer of 2016, less than half of HxBIA businesses practice social hiring. View the study here.
What are the benefits?
Social hiring provides a very tangible way of giving back to the community. In addition, customers are increasingly paying attention to business’ Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. Here are some ways that social hiring can benefit your workplace:
- The public sees your business connecting to the community
- You gain a competitive advantage by engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility
- Social hires tend to have greater retention and loyalty
- You help foster positive change through economic inclusivity. Hiring from the local community improves local residents’ quality of life.
How can I get involved?
Businesses can hire temporary and/or part-time employees for tasks ranging from window cleaning to washing dishes to making deliveries to food prep. What are some tasks in your workplace that could generate income to fit these needs? You can provide residents who are ready for employment with the soft skills and resources they need to take on part-time work in the community.
There are various strong and reputable organizations in the area that are dedicated to assisting employers connect with social hiring opportunities in various capacities. Below are 6 organizations/initiatives that can assist you in exploring social hiring practices:
Knack: An initiative of Potluck Cafe Society, Knack facilitates the connection of employers to qualified individuals using an online platform. Knack uses digital badges to showcase earners’ employment-related skill sets.
Open Door Group: Established in 1976, Open Door Group is a non-profit organization that delivers a range of free programs and services for local employers from pre-screening, placement, and post-placement support. The organization administers the WorkBC Employment Program out of their Centre in the DTES. Every year Open Door Group connects more than 400 people to employment, and they are prepared to educate and make connections to traditional businesses.
Mission Possible: Mission Possible is a non-profit organization helping those challenged by homelessness and poverty achieve a renewed sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work. They offer many services to businesses such as a MP Neighbours, a community-led safety and security program and MP Maintenance, a full service property maintenance company.
Binners’ Project: Beginning under an experimental initiative grant in 2014, the Binners’ Project has since launched a number of pilot programs in 2015. These include Waste Management and Pick-up Services and the installation of Binners’ Hooks.
EMBERS: The Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society or EMBERS is Canada’s only non-profit staffing agency, with 100% of profits being reinvested into worker training and employment support. EMBERS caters to a range of employment sectors from administration to construction labour.
Gastown Vocational Services: Gastown Vocational Services (GVS) offers a range of programs supporting youth and adults with mental health disabilities in achieving their employment goals. GVS provides support throughout work experience placements and has extensive experience in dealing with employee relations.