Small Business Big Voice

Baker Industries: Filling the Opportunity Gap

Winter 2021 Catalyst

Baker Industries believes in the power of work and acceptance to change lives. For over 40 years, individuals in the Philadelphia region who are challenged by disability, parole/probation, substance use disorder and homelessness have found the opportunity to get off the sidelines and back to work at Baker Industries.

 

Baker’s non-profit workforce development program provides a paid work experience along with training and coaching designed to help individuals become “job ready” for successful employment with local businesses. Each year, dozens of Baker graduates progress to living wage jobs in the regular economy.

 

Each year, more than 200 Baker program participants complete assignments for 80 customers across the Philadelphia region at their two industrial locations, in North Philadelphia and Malvern, PA. Services include basic assembly, packaging, shrink wrapping, kitting and mailings. Competing for and serving real customers is one of the important ways the Baker experience prepares individuals for success.  Daily huddles, weekly seminars and 1:1 coaching emphasize accountability, teamwork, self-awareness, integrity and persistence. Recognizing that each individual has value and potential, Baker helps employers tap into an underutilized talent pool to fill essential openings. Here is a recent example.

 

Michael (pictured at left) started working at Baker Industries in October, 2019, only a few days after being released from a prison term. Upon starting, Michael said, “getting this job made me feel like I won the lottery! My confidence skyrocketed to know there are places for people like me who need a second chance.”

 

Michael worked steadily for six months while successfully completing Baker’s innovative Job Readiness Program. This summer, he began a new, good paying job with a ceramic maker in Kensington/North Philadelphia.  According to his new employer, he is a “model employee.”

 

The pandemic has created additional challenges for those transitioning into the workforce.  Restrictions on business operations, interruptions in public transportation, availability of childcare and limited access to healthcare are just some of the hurdles facing vulnerable adults. Baker is working with community partners to adapt, creating a safe work environment, helping individuals connect with needed assistance and creating more work opportunities to help ease the economic strain on individuals and families.

 

In 2021, Baker’s mission – to invest in talented workers from challenging circumstances and connect them with employers in need of job ready candidates – is critically important to our communities and economy.

 

If you are a business seeking to outsource light industrial work to a reliable partner, or an employer seeking solid candidates for front-line opportunities, reach out to Baker Industries at www.bakerindustries.org.

Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.