While the current US unemployment rate suggests that the job market is quite strong, finding a job isn’t equally easy for everyone, and for some populations, it’s chronically downright tough. For example, while more than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year, some survey data suggests that more than half of them remain unemployed up to a year later. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for people with a disability of some kind is double that of the general population. And those are just some of the populations we have statistics on. Recovering addicts and the former homeless, for example, also find it hard to become employed, but we don’t have data on how hard.
State, local, and federal governments sometimes create programs to help these groups, but businesses can also use creative tools to get people back to work. Here are five social enterprises using the mechanisms of business to tackle the employment issue in their communities.