On Jan. 17, Hopeworks, a nonprofit and social enterprise founded on building strong futures with an emphasis on trauma-informed care, hosted its “Igniting Economic Growth through Social Impact” event at its Camden headquarters. The event was focused on exploring how social impact initiatives can lead to job creation, poverty alleviation, and community development, ultimately contributing to economic growth at both local and global levels.
In a rapidly evolving world, businesses are recognizing that sustainable growth goes hand in hand with making a positive social impact. Deep impact comes from programs like Hopeworks, which provides comprehensive training and services, pays their participants, and provides real work experience that leads to a career.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring influential leaders and community voices to our home and provide them the opportunity to share their insights, experiences, and strategies,” said Angel Serrano, senior director of Development at Hopeworks. “From these conversations, we hope that we’ve started creating a roadmap to achieve economic growth and ultimately put an end to poverty.”
During the event, the panelists discussed how everyone has a role in making an impact and must work together to create opportunities and career pathways. In order for the city to grow, thrive and address overall barriers and systemic issues, the focus needs to shift and center on education and workforce development.
Speakers included Jeff Hornstein (Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.) and Sylvie Gallie Howard (Equitable Cities Consulting). The panelists included Gianna Grossmann (Senior Director of Workforce Development at Philadelphia Department of Commerce), Michael Newmuis (Head of Impact at FS Investments and Executive Director at FS Foundation), and Denise Venuti Free (Senior Director of Communications and External Affairs, New Jersey American Water).
“At the heart of poverty alleviation lies the fundamental need to provide individuals with opportunities to improve their economic circumstances, and job creation serves as a direct route to fulfilling this need,” said Jeff Hornstein, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. “In regions where job opportunities are accessible and organizations like Hopeworks exist, young adults are better prepared to break free from the cycle of poverty.”
Hopeworks is a social enterprise that uses technology, healing and entrepreneurship to transform lives. Hopeworks’ unique mix of training, trauma-informed care, and real-world experience is what leads to extraordinary results. The approach, combined with high-demand, high-wage technical training and paid work experience is helping to build a workforce that can not only get the job, but keep it, transforming their lives and the lives of their families.
To provide this experience, Hopeworks runs real businesses, providing technology solutions for businesses in web design and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and trauma-informed solutions through training and consulting services with the Hopeworks Training Team. These businesses help generate more than 100 jobs a year, and lead to high-wage, permanent opportunities for young adults in a growing tech industry.
Hopeworks’ unique combination has led to extraordinary results, with over 85% of young adults earning high-wage jobs at the end of their work experience with Hopeworks, and a 12-month retention rate of almost 90% at those jobs. Young adults entering Hopeworks are typically earning an average of $400 per year and after going through the training program, they have the opportunity to make a livable and comfortable wage, earning more than $42,000 annually.