Social Enterprise and Workforce Development
Help vulnerable people reach their full potential.
Too many individuals are either unemployed or underemployed, facing upheaval in the economy and the job market, and with no sustainable career pathway ahead of them. Access to opportunities and resources can change not only their lives, but those of their families and communities.
Many Catholic Charities agencies offer a combination of workforce development programs — to provide those who are unemployed or underemployed with the necessary skills to pursue meaningful work — and social enterprise programs that offer opportunities for clients to hone their new skills in a supportive environment.
Workforce development pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs combine specialized skills trainings, so clients can follow a career pathway in a trade, with case management, client-employer connection and follow-up until the client becomes self-sufficient.
Undergirding many of these programs are foundational educational offerings, such as adult basic education (ABE), GED, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), employment readiness and financial education.
Construction, plumbing, electrical, roofing, heavy machinery operation, assembly and broadband installation
Community gardens, markets and farms
Culinary arts, cleaning services, language interpretation and translation, careers in banking, sewing, commercial driver’s license (CDL), home health aide, certified nursing assistant and doula certification
Child development associate, first aid, CPR, OSHA 10 and microenterprise programs that provide business and financial education and support with seed capital to entrepreneurs
Social enterprises are often associated with Catholic Charities workforce development programs, allowing clients to become agency employees, receive the appropriate support to learn a trade, gain a salary and prepare for the outside labor market.
Examples include production kitchens, community gardens/farmers markets, coffee roasting operations, language interpretation services, home repair and building maintenance programs, product assembly operations, staffing agencies, sewing businesses and thrift shops whose revenue is reinvested in the social enterprise programs.
The Challenge encourages Catholic Charities network agencies to explore bold solutions to alleviate, reduce or eliminate poverty and celebrates the transformative power of innovative thinking.
Need assistance? Find a local Catholic Charities agency.
Employees of social enterprises make significant gains toward economic self-sufficiency and stability in housing and income while decreasing their reliance on government benefits.
Annual revenue from social enterprises
Professional certifications/credentials earned
People served through social enterprises
Every two years, after a new Congress is seated, CCUSA’s Social Policy Team crafts legislative priorities and recommendations based on the ongoing efforts of the Catholic Charities network of agencies and the needs of the vulnerable populations Catholic Charities serves.
This was what I needed to get back and step forward with my life.— Steven, graduate of a Catholic Charities building trades program
Julieta is the vice president of social enterprise and workforce development initiatives. She manages the Innovation Challenge and the Rework America Alliance Project, providing technical support to local agency staff to build capacity and make connections with workforce development opportunities. She also leads the Construction Trades, Language Interpretation and Employment Readiness Communities of Practice.