Explores the promise of Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs) to understand how these businesses assist disadvantaged workers by coupling job brokering with supportive services to enhance workforce development.

“…[S]ome community-based and other nonprofit organizations have pursued the start-up of Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs), job placement enterprises that aim to help disadvantaged job seekers gain entry into the labor market and build their work experience, and that also charge fees to employers for these job brokering services…Unlike their traditional staffing-industry counterparts…ASOs aim to help a specific population—disadvantaged workers—and often offer additional supports, such as basic job readiness services, transportation to jobs or emergency cash assistance” (p.2). This report explored the promise of the ASO strategy by studying four ASOs to determine their “motivations, operations, population served and outcomes through the lens of workforce development. [It sought] to understand how these social-purpose businesses assist individual job seekers by coupling job brokering with supportive services” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

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

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “In contrast to workforce development programs, revenues for ASOs are predominantly generated from the fees paid by employer–customers…..Although ASOs do not usually track the subsequent jobs of their worker–customers, the data they do currently collect can point to some areas worthy of further exploration…[And] the strategy’s potential as a mechanism for helping disadvantaged individuals succeed in the job market over the long term” (p.26). • Additionally, “[r]ecent work by Andersson et al. (2007) suggests that traditional temporary agencies generally provide disadvantaged workers a necessary boost into the workforce, leading one to ponder whether additional gains could be achieved by organizations whose missions include both earning a profit and meeting the needs of disadvantaged workers” (p.32). • “ASOs serve people with multiple barriers to employment” (p.32). • “Supportive services were associated with successful outcomes for disadvantages job seekers who sought work through an ASO” (p.32). • “A dual focus on job seekers and employers allows ASOs to be flexible in meeting the needs of both groups of customers” (p.32). • “The position of ASOs with respect to employers – their paying customers – can create tension when it comes to meeting social-purpose goals” (p.32). • “The ASO model may offer an approach for meeting the needs of job seekers who must earn a living while they participate in training” (p.33). (Abstractor: Author)