Work is one of the most vital tools we have in life to belong and contribute to society while we realize our own potential. Yet, for people with felony convictions, drug addiction or mental health, it can be very challenging to find work, any kind of work.
I learned so much from Tamra Ryan, the author of The Third Law and CEO of the Women’s Bean Project about the enormous challenges women face as they try to transition from prison and a halfway house to gainful employment. Not only is it eye-opening to grasp what this vulnerable segment of the population confronts but also incredibly inspiring to bear witness to the beauty of a purpose-led social enterprise is doing to lift its community.
In addition to the felony convictions and chronic unemployment, the women the Women’s Bean Project serves also have low skill and education backgrounds. Operating as a food manufacturer in Denver, CO, the Women’s Bean Project provides a 9-month program that teaches women critical job skills and ultimately an opening toward meaningful employment.
Tamra writes in her book,
By helping women help themselves, we provide opportunities for our participants to discover their talents and develop skills to join the workforce and build better lives. I believe it is a basic human right to live a stable, healthy life. We are nurturing economic sustainability by enabling women to gain self-worth and self-sufficiency. Acquiring the tools to sustain themselves and their families provide women with a second chance. After all, that’s all they’re hoping for.” (p. 128)
Work is such a vitalizing force in our lives, and we all need a hand up to get where we want to go. Watch the interview on the Working on Purpose Radio channel on You Tube.