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This staffing company aims to employ 1,000 homeless individuals in 3 years

First Step Staffing. January 12, 2018 Category: FeaturedPurposeShort

Disclosures

Editor's note: Description of Barra Foundation's grant has been clarified. (1/12, 2:15 p.m.)
Atlanta-based nonprofit First Step Staffing is expanding to Philly following its acquisition of for-profit On Time Staffing’s local operations in order to create a job training and placement program for homeless individuals and returning citizens.

The 10-year-old organization aims to hire 500 Philadelphians in the next year and as many as 1,000 in the next three.

“Our goal is to help thousands of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable citizens gain sustainable employment, and eventually, a permanent residence,” said Greg Block, First Step founder and chairman, in a statement. “We believe a steady and sustainable income is the only reliable path out of homelessness.”

First Step specializes in warehouse, packaging and manufacturing jobs and will be based locally in Kensington. The nonprofit will work with local homelessness agencies such as Project HOME, Broad Street Ministry and Impact Services to connect with potential employees, who will also be offered job coaching and transportation.

The acquisition was supported partly by a 2016 Barra Foundation grant, as well as a loan from four CDFIs including Reinvestment Fund, an investment from Investors’ Circle and other funding sources.

“By purchasing a for-profit staffing company and converting it into a nonprofit with existing earned revenue streams, First Step is taking a fresh approach to combatting homelessness,” said Barra Foundation President Tina Wahl in a statement. “This type of rapid employment for homeless individuals does yet not exist in Philadelphia and will be an important addition to the continuum of care.”

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