Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (AEMI), The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) closed this month on a $3 million loan to support First Step Staffing, a non-profit staffing agency that helps employ people with barriers to workforce re-entry.
Founded in 2007, First Step Staffing is a non-profit alternative staffing company that specializes in finding job opportunities for the homeless, military veterans, and individuals who have been previously incarcerated. Their goal is to help homeless workers become permanent members of the workforce, providing them the first step out of homelessness.
Every day, they place approximately 200 homeless men and women in job assignments and provide additional job and life coaching, transportation, and housing assistance. Their clients come from strong referral partners, including the United Way, Goodwill and MUST Ministries.
First Step Staffing also provides workers with the necessary support to ensure success and improve retention. Support activities include providing uniforms, transportation, and skills coaching. Since 2007, FSS has helped over 2,000 homeless individuals re-enter the workforce. Seventy percent of FSS workers have retained employment after 90 days (vs. the industry average of 50%) and over 30% of the current associates are US veterans.
The loan will be used for working capital to support the business’ growth as they ramp up services locally and scaling nationally. Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. is providing $1 million of the $3 million loan.