Orion Industries: Transitioning to Employment
Below is an excerpt from an interview with John.
What is the vision you have for Orion in particular and the social enterprise field in general?
For Orion, our vision is to serve individuals with barriers in multiple businesses in multiple locations. With the upcoming merger, we will be providing services in two different cities in Western Washington. We also have a cohort of workers staffing a contact center services contract in Virginia. We want to be seen as a national model – creating living wage opportunities for people overcoming employment barriers.
Our program teaches people skills that allow them to earn a living wage. The average hourly wage for people leaving our social enterprise is $13.87 an hour, and we place them in industries where there is room to advance their skills and increase their wages.
I truly believe in the social enterprise model for the delivery of many types of human services. When done right, it frees the non-profit organization from much of the uncertainty associated with more traditional types of non-profit funding. Conversely, it also frees the non-profit from some of the short term decision making that owners and shareholders often demand from a for-profit organization. It allows the non-profit to make sound long-term decisions that are in the best interest of the mission. The social enterprise model is the perfect blend of business and mission and will become more and more important as an efficient and effective way to deliver services.