Game Changer: $80 Million Dollar Social Enterprise, Pioneer Human Resources and Industries
On March 29, 2017, Social Enterprise Alliance of Washington State kicked off its first annual event for the year featuring Pioneer, an $80 million social enterprise serving people released from prison or jail in Washington State, and those in recovery from addiction
who are in need of treatment, housing and job skills training. Pioneer helps people rebuild their lives after jail or prison with counseling and treatment services, and supports the transition from prison with training and job opportunities.
Pioneer is game changing the statistic that 68% of those released from incarceration return back behind bars. Rather than giving “hand outs,” Pioneer believes in “hand-ups”, by first ensuring basics needs like housing are met. Then they begin focusing on providing job skill development, training, employment, and certifications and the ability to successfully start a new life on a healthy path and often hire people with criminal backgrounds for it’s manufacturing arm Pioneer Industries.
Pioneer Industries fabricates sheet metal and manufactures machine parts for companies like Genie, which sell construction equipment. Pioneer Industry’s most recent investment includes purchasing a $750,000 state-of- the-art machine that manufactures parts for Boeing airplanes.
Pioneer hires employees based on merit and best fit and don’t discriminate based on past criminal history. This unbiased hiring process not only allows a way for those getting out of prison to be considered for employment, but allows for “the cream of the crop” to rise up. On the tour, Pioneer Industry’s hiring manager shared how people out of jail or prison tend to make the best employees. They are the most hungry to improve and make the most out of their job to make a better life. In fact, 65% of Pioneer employees are formerly incarcerated. On the manufacturing floor, there’s no way to know whether someone was incarcerated or not in the workplace culture—everyone is treated equally and up to the employee to disclose.
Because of the plant’s collective commitment to quality control, and taking pride in their work, they are consistent in meeting high expectations for production and delivery of quality products. As a result, they have built a strong reputation and respected business!
Revenue generated from Pioneer Industries successfully funds, grows, and sustains Pioneer as a social enterprise. They’ve only begun to look at traditional non-profit financing in the form of grants or stewarding large donors. Pioneer is an organization worth modeling, successfully integrating both mission and market driven approaches. Social Enterprise Alliance Washington State is proud to introduce you to a social enterprise model that works well. Imagine if all organizations were both mission and market driven?
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