As the economic recovery slogs on without a significant change in employment, some HR experts and recruiters are advocating a push in hiring as a way to reduce poverty and homelessness. Instead of awaiting the perfect candidate, businesses can hire the next best person and provide training to bring them up to speed. Companies with one full time opening could hire one-and-a-half workers. Extend and reach a little, and change a life—or two.
Why? As one former recruiter says, there is a value in simply employing people. To give them hope, while keeping families intact and off the street. Illustrating the reality of family life for a large number of Americans today, is a recent 60 Minutes piece, following up on a story done a year ago about the large number of homeless kids in central Florida. Having lost their homes through eviction or foreclosure, many were then living with their families in motels. One year later, some of these same families are now living in their cars.
The story featured parents who once enjoyed full-time jobs and were able to support their families. Now, they’ve been out of work for months or years. Friends and family can no longer offer their extra rooms and couches, and the families have nowhere to go. Kids get ready for school in the morning in gas station or convenience store bathrooms. School systems hire homeless child specialists to help kids deal with the many problems associated with sleeping and living in cars.
If you’re an employer, are you in a position to hire someone and lift him or her out of poverty? Could you make a lasting difference in a family’s life by giving them the means to put a real roof (not a car roof) over their heads?
If you don’t need any workers, you can still strengthen your community. Why not donate a scholarship in your business’s name to your local technical or community college? Giving a student in need the chance to obtain an education is a life-changing act. Programs offered at these schools typically teach the skills most needed by local industry.
Imagine what would happen if 25% of the businesses in America each hired one worker. With approximately 6 million firms with employees in this country, that’s 1.5 million new jobs. While it might be a nice idea that goes nowhere, it’s worth thinking about—especially at this time of year.