Rising Tide supports the work of First Step Staffing (FSS) to employ those disenfranchized from the workforce, including men and women experiencing homelessness, veterans, and returning citizens. FSS offers targeted support to these individuals, including international job coaching, a robust transportation program, and help obtaining and retaining jobs - allowing their clients to become economically self-sufficient.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to ravage economies and affect job markets. Despite this, FSS employed 8,094 individuals in 2021, including 5,000 homeless and 1,756 previously incarcerated. Combined these individuals earned more than $47 million in wages. Eduardo is just one particular success story at FSS, who after 12 years in prison, was eager to start gainful employment following his release. Having heard about FSS from his parole officer, he accepted his first assignment in September, learning everything he could from each assignment. By December Eduardo had transitioned to staff coordination and lead dispatch for FSS at the Wells Fargo Center. He says that "Being employed gives you peace of mind and makes you feel like you’re contributing more to society".
The FSS model is founded in the belief that individuals can be empowered to achieve greater personal prosperity which in turns creates savings for the community. Access to employment provides people with a path out of poverty, but it is their hard work that ultimately leads to personal stability. While First Step Staffing provides the opportunity and support to reconnect to the workforce, it is the individual who must commit to and excel in the work assignments provided to them - making this project very much in line with our belief at Rising Tide in a 'hand up' over a 'hand out'.