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First Step Philadelphia Celebrates One Year Anniversary and the Power of Employment to Transform Lives

Weekly Employment of Over 350 Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in the Region in 2018 and $14.5 Million in Earned Wages Paid

Philadelphia, PA – January 31, 2019

On Thursday, January 24, 2019, First Step Staffing (FSS) celebrated the one year anniversary of its expansion to Philadelphia. The event took place at the Wells Fargo Museum located at 123 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, and was attended by funders, associates who had been assisted by First Step Staffing services, local employees, and business and community partners. The event marked a year of tremendous impact connecting thousands of the region’s citizens who have barriers to employment with jobs and economic opportunity. It also celebrated the collaborative influence of Philadelphia’s leaders who successfully brought First Step’s model to the city.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, First Step Staffing is a non-profit staffing agency dedicated to serving individuals transitioning from homelessness, returning citizens, veterans, and those with other barriers to employment. With locations in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Nashville, it is the largest agency of its kind in the United States. First Step Staffing Philadelphia was established in January of 2018 and opened its headquarters in the Kensington neighborhood at 1952 E. Allegheny Avenue, Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19134. First Step’s model focuses on rapid reemployment and utilizes support services including job coaching and a transportation program to help our associates obtain and retain employment. FSS staff regularly visits homeless shelters, conducts onsite and offsite job fairs, and partners with local nonprofits and agencies to create referral pipelines of work-ready men and women.

Mike Dahl, Executive Director of Broad Street Ministries and First Step Staffing Board Member states, “First Step Staffing (FSS) has become an invaluable partner to Broad Street Ministry as we both pursue our missions of serving vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. In just the first year, FSS provided the opportunity for over 90 of our guests, who very often face significant barriers to employment, the opportunity to get back into the workforce. Doing so allows them to not only take an important step toward regaining stability, but also provides them with the dignity that comes from a hard day’s work. FSS serves a critical role in the city’s overall workforce development strategy for our neighbors experiencing homelessness or discrimination due to past incarceration as well as veterans who may need a helping hand integrating back into the community.”

Eduardo Almony, a returning citizen who gained employment through First Step’s services, said, “I heard about First Step Staffing from my parole officer. I wanted to start doing the right thing, and First Step gave me an opportunity that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.” Arthur Connelly, another First Step associate stated, “If it wasn’t for First Step, I don’t know where I’d be. It gave me a purpose again.”

First Step Staffing is proving to be a force in the area, employing over 600 individuals weekly in jobs throughout Philadelphia, surrounding counties, and southern New Jersey. Currently over 60% of these jobs (350+) are filled by individuals experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness. In total, FSS Philadelphia employed over 1,300 individuals experiencing homelessness, paid over $14.5 million in earned wages, and provided over 18,000 rides to and from work for its associates. Additionally, 175 individuals transitioned from temporary to permanent employment with FSS customers. First Step expects to see continued program growth in 2019.

Harold T. Epps, Philadelphia’s Commerce Director and another First Step Philadelphia Board Member, states, “We continue to see economic growth and low unemployment rates in Philadelphia. However, individuals with the most barriers to employment, including those currently experiencing homelessness and those with criminal backgrounds, continue to struggle reconnecting to the workforce. In its first year of operations, First Step Philadelphia made a tremendous impact for these men and women, offering opportunities for gainful employment with important support services that include job coaching and transportation. The City has been fully supportive of First Step’s expansion to our region as we work together to ensure our most vulnerable residents have access to the tools they need to be economically self-sufficient.”

For more information on First Step Philadelphia, please contact Amelia Nickerson, Vice President of Development & Community Relations at (404) 577-3394 or or Philadelphia Executive Director, Jason Cosley at (215) 333-3349 ext. 1004 or