Examines the characteristics and effectiveness of Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs).
"Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs) are worker-centered, social-purpose businesses created by community-based organizations and national nonprofits" (p.1). “ASO staff aimed to place workers with potential into assignments likely to lead to a regular hire, and tended to place reliable workers with customers that had better jobs…. ASO sites with higher rates of employment at follow-up were sites where some customers had rolled over workers onto their own payroll and were located in areas with comparatively lower unemployment rates…. The unique, dual focus of ASOs is serving job seekers and business customers. Our results suggested that the ASO model does serve both groups. Workers distinguished the services provided by the ASO from those of a conventional staffing company. In focus groups, workers reported receiving more attention, coaching, and job search advice from the ASO than from conventional staffing companies they have encountered. Customer business interviews provided evidence that the ASOs occupy a market niche in the broader staffing industry of their area. Customers used the ASO services when they particularly needed well screened and prepared workers. This is often the case when they were using temps with a view to regular hiring. They valued the responsiveness of ASO staff and their attention to the match between worker and position. This responsiveness and attention were necessary to maintain the business relationship and are essential for the worker to have a chance to have a successful job match” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Within each ASO, we found diverse work experiences in terms of total hours worked across workers during 2009 and 2010. The hours and total earnings dispersion was greater than wage dispersion…. This means that some workers have brief work experiences while others have relatively long-lasting work experiences. Again, this pattern is partly driven by the characteristics of job assignments…. In other words, ASOs in this study not only were able to help some workers with employment, and possibly employment that will lead to a regular job later on, but also helped job seekers with short-term earning opportunities…. This study contacted former workers six to eight months after their assignment ended (that is, the end of their first assignment observed during the study period). Across all sites, just under half of those contacted had a job at follow-up” (p.53). (Abstractor: Author)