Case Studies / Best Practices

The following research reports highlight the characteristics, outcomes and benefits of alternative staffing as a social enterprise model for workforce development:

EMBERS Staffing Solutions Case Study
Sponsored by Trico Charitable Foundation and released in May 2015, this document details the social enterprise journey of EMBERS Staffing Solutions (ESS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from concept in 2003 to startup in 2008 and then rapid expansion in 2014. Prepared by the Sauder Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, the case study highlights valuable insights about launching, sustaining and scaling an alternative staffing business or similar employment-focused social venture.

Mathematica Jobs Study
Released in January 2015, this study was commissioned by REDF with support from the Social Innovation Fund, and evaluated social enterprises in REDF’s portfolio, including Alliance members Chrysalis Enterprises and Solutions SF. Among the individuals these social enterprises employ, 25% had never worked before, 29% lacked a high school degree or GED, and 69% had a criminal conviction. Mathematica’s evaluation found that workers in REDF’s portfolio companies made significant economic gains, tripled their housing stability and sharply reduced their dependence on government benefits.

Five Hurricanes and an Oil Spill: Lessons from the 2008-2012 Gulf Coast Alternative Staffing Initiative
Beginning in 2006, as a response to economic disruption in the Gulf Coast region and to help inform potential adopters about the alternative staffing model, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and its partners designed the Gulf Coast Initiative and engaged three community-based organizations to launch and operate ASOs: Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, UpLIFTD in Baton Rouge, and Options for Independence in Houma. This report tells their stories and emphasizes four main lessons for the field.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Alternative Staffing Demonstration
In 2003, the C.S. Mott Foundation embarked on a multi-phase demonstration aimed at helping alternative staffing programs enhance and refine their service models, and more clearly understanding how these programs serve job-seekers and business customers.

The most recent reportFinding the Right Fit: How Alternative Staffing Affects Worker Outcomes, was released in December 2011 and provides important information about the employment status of ASO workers over time. Former workers of four ASOs were followed six to eight months after the end of their ASO assignment to better understand the impact of worker and assignment characteristics on employment status.

The four ASOs participating in the research were Emerge Staffing, Minneapolis; FirstSource Staffing, Brooklyn; Goodwill Staffing Services, Austin; and Goodwill Temporary Staffing in St. Petersburg, Florida. For details, please contact Center for Social Policy’s investigator Françoise Carré at Francoise.Carre@umb.edu.

In 2012, the Center for Social Policy released three shorter papers based on their research and focusing on:

Two reports released in January 2009 analyze previous findings about ASOs’ role in helping low-income, low-skilled job seekers overcome disadvantages in the labor market:

2009: Brokering Up: The Role of Temporary Staffing in Overcoming Labor Market Barriers

2009: A Foot in the Door: Using Alternative Staffing Organizations to Open Up Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers

Phase 1, 2003-2005, Alternative staffing connects people with jobs
Phase 2, 2005-2008, Project seeks to help ‘temps’ achieve long-term job stability

Alternative Job Brokering: Addressing Labor Market Disadvantages, Improving the Temp Experience and Enhancing Job Opportunities, 2003
This report describes the findings of a comprehensive national study of alternative staffing services operating in the US as of 2001-02. Download Alternative Job Brokering

Getting to Work: ICA’s Social Purpose Staffing Companies, 2003, Susan Eisenberg
This case study profiles the unique history and character of three alternative staffing companies in Boston, Brooklyn and Washington, DC, and captures the key points common to their experience and success. Download Getting to Work: ICA’s Social Purpose Staffing Companies

New Avenues into Jobs: Early Lessons from Nonprofit Temp Agencies and Employment Brokers, 1998 Dorie Seavey, Ph.D.
This excerpt reviews 11 “Lessons Learned” from case studies of six alternative staffing initiatives in Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon. Download New Avenues into Jobs