FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Project Place Program Gives Homeless Women Unique Job Training Experience
‘Working Opportunities for Women’ (WOW) places workers in jobs with local small businesses
Boston, MA, July 26, 2016―Project Place, a nonprofit that assists homeless and low-income individuals gain the skills necessary to obtain employment and lead a stable life, announces today that is has launched a new Social Enterprise Business called Working Opportunities for Women (WOW). WOW will provide opportunities for women with children―particularly women who are homeless―to gain meaningful employment experience while also learning to navigate the transition from relying solely on public assistance to becoming more financially independent.
WOW will contract with local small businesses for a range of services, including light assembly and production; packaging and labeling; order processing and fulfillment; and sales and marketing. Project Place clients who participate in WOW will receive support addressing common barriers to employment such as lack of day care for children and negotiating the benefits system. They will also receive case management services to help them tackle other issues affecting their ability to maintain employment such as finding stable housing.
“Women with children experiencing homelessness face multiple barriers to entering the workforce―lack of skills, training or formal education; limited work history, no child care, and fear of losing critical public assistance once employed,” said Project Place Executive Director Suzanne Kenney. “WOW engages women in an enterprise that provides them with real work for real pay, supportive on-the-job supervision, and other services to help them gain the confidence they need to achieve long term employment and a more secure future.”
WOW’s first business partner is COOP’s MicroCreamery®, a maker of all natural, artisanal dessert sauces available in three varieties: hot fudge, vegan hot fudge, and salted caramel, as well as Cocoa Felice, a nondairy gourmet Hot Chocolate Mix. COOP’s MicroCreamery®’s award winning products are available locally at Star and Shaw’s, Roche Brothers, and select Whole Foods supermarkets, as well as at many specialty markets throughout New England and the U.S. .
“This partnership makes so much sense for my business,” said Marc “Coop” Cooper, founder of COOP’s MicroCreamery®. “I’ve outsourced production, assembly, and distribution to a high quality team. The fact that employees are getting valuable training that will help them become independent and better care for their families means you can indulge in our gourmet dessert sauces without any guilt.”
Women must complete Project Place’s Work Ready class in order to be eligible to interview for a position in WOW. Once in the program, they receive further training in production, marketing, and sales through Project Place’s Competitive Advantage training program, as well as Serv-Safe food safety training. There are currently five women enrolled in WOW. Project Place expects to have employed 10 women by December. WOW job placements last for three months, and successful graduates will seek mainstream employment.
WOW is the newest of four Social Enterprise businesses operated by Project Place that are designed to build a client’s work history and the first of its programs solely focused on preparing women, particularly mothers for the workforce. The other three Social Enterprises are Clean Corners…Bright Hopes, a janitorial and facility maintenance service; Home Plate, a food preparation and catering service; and Project Pepsi, a snack and soft drinks vending machine service. Social Enterprises have been a critical component of Project Place programming since the 1990s. They provide transitional employment that enable individuals to develop on the job work skills, build work experience, and earn income while receiving support and coaching with life skills. They have an overall permanent job placement rate of 67 percent and a consistently high job retention rate.
About Project Place
Founded in 1967, Project Place has provided hope and opportunity to homeless and low-income individuals in the Greater Boston Area for 48 years. The nonprofit is a supportive community that provides the education and resources needed to obtain stable employment and housing. The agency manages social enterprises (small businesses with a social mission) that offer employment opportunities and job training programs, career services, transitional and permanent housing, and case management support to help those experiencing homelessness reestablish themselves in society with dignity.