EMBERS is an innovative community development charity based in the heart of Vancouver Downtown Eastside, one of the most culturally vibrant yet economically depressed communities in Canada.
EMBERS' vision is to create an economically self-sufficient, empowered community. We do this through something we call the "Power of Work", that is, supporting people with employment and self-employment opportunities to get back on their feet to lead positive, productive lives.
The Power of Work is something that pervades our organization and drives all of our programs - but none more so than EMBERS Staffing Solutions, Canada's only non-profit temporary staffing agency matching companies with workers in blue, white and increasingly "green" collar jobs.
At its most basic Staffing Solutions is about getting people working, but at its core it is about offering hope and prosperity to people getting back on their feet after experiencing a life-setback. Through work, we help people regain a sense of self-confidence, respect and ultimately financial self-sufficiency.
We pay fair wages for an honest days work, bridging the gap between poverty and self-sufficiency, between unemployment and hope for the future, and between disadvantage and empowerment.
Since 2008, Staffing Solutions has connected over 800 people in our community with jobs (more than half of whom have gone on to obtain stable employment), and paid out more than $1.75 million in salaries and benefits.
Recovery is the first step in overcoming substance abuse. The real challenge that people face is how to continue their recovery beyond the protective environment of a rehabilitation facility. Re-entry into the community is a critical juncture at which the threat of relapse is very real. Similarly, for people leaving the correctional system, re-entry into the community is the point at which re-offense is most likely.
Reintegration into the community requires a supportive, stable environment, but most of all it requires income and steady work to allow people to establish self-sufficiency and build confidence and hope for a brighter future.
The mission of EMBERS Staffing Solutions is to assist, empower, and support people who are recovering from addictions or who are leaving the correctional system to transition into the workforce in a supported and fair manner through temporary and temporty-to-permanent job placements.
EMBERS Staffing Solutions helps to bridge many of the obstacles that the recovery and re-entry populations face as disadvantaged job-seekers reentering the workforce. In providing a supported transition, we help reduce and prevent the risk of relapse and re-offense during this critical stage.
In contrast to conventional for-profit temporary staffing companies, Staffing Solutions is a non-profit social enterprise that combines a market-driven, fee-for-service business model with a social service mission – to help disadvantaged job seekers obtain temporary to permanent work placements in an environment supported by addictions counseling, job coaching, and other client benefits (e.g. higher wages, weekly pay, financial literacy coaching). Our double-bottom line ensures that we are financially sustainable as an organization and that our real focus is on helping people get their lives back.
Temporary jobs serve as a bridge to full-time employment for people in transition, who in many cases have:
• inconsistent work histories,
• criminal records,
• limited networks to access to jobs,
• basic need for income,
• poor money management skills (the first pay cheque can be a trigger for relapse),
• stress of adapting to a new clean, straights and sober life
• need for part-time, flexible or temporary jobs that allows sufficient off-time for the recovery process including reconnecting with family, court dates and meetings with parole officers.
How it works:
1) Candidates are recruited through referrals from existing support organizations, recovery houses, correctional programs and employment service organizations and through targeted marketing.
2) Candidates go through an extensive screening and assessment process to ensure they are job-ready and have a network of supports in place. Existing partnerships with referral agencies and other social service organizations are leveraged to provide ongoing supports to clients as needed.
3) Our dedicated in-house sales department finds socially-responsible companies that have a need for temporary labour, typically in construction and other blue collar industries, and increasingly in administrative and "green" collar sectors.
4) Candidates' skill sets are then matched to available positions, and they are sent out on temporary placements (everything from a one-off job, to temporary full-time for three months).
5) Staffing Solutions provides candidates with fair wages, weekly pay cheques, financial literacy education, flexible scheduling, and counselling in career development to further their career ambitions and encourage a healthy reintegration back into the workforce and society.