Business Interface is historically known as The Welfare to Work Partnership (The Partnership). In 1997, the organization was launched in response to the signing of the Clinton Administration's Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Operating as a nonpartisan organization, we began with a commitment from CEOs of five major companies - Sprint, UPS, United Airlines, Burger King, and Monsanto - to mobilize the business community to help move welfare recipients out of poverty and into the workplace.
During the period 1997 - 1999, our national outreach efforts helped to mobilized more than 22,000 business partners in the hiring of ex-offenders, former welfare recipients, at-risk youth, and other underserved populations. Through these employer partners more than 1.1 million individuals of non-traditional populations were connected to jobs.
In 1999, The Partnership began operating a significant Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor that placed individuals transitioning from welfare into jobs. The grant enabled the establishment of five Business Resource Centers in the cities of Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles, CA and, New York, NY. Over a two-year period aproximately 3466 individuals were placed in jobs averaging $8.10 per hour.
In 2003, The Partnership expanded its base of program participants to serve ex-offenders and disadvantaged youth with the addition of a Demand-side Youth Offender Demonstration Project (DSYODP) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Bush Administration. With this expansion, The Partnership was able to recruit and train a broader range of the underserved to fill critical entry to mid-level positions. Over a two-year period, approximately 700 at-risk and ex-offender youth were placed in jobs with an average wage of $10.18 per hour.
In 2004, The Partnership changed its name to Business Interface to more appropriately communicate the impact of its role as a demand-side intermediary between local businesses and community organizations tasked with preparing underserved populations for employment. In the transition from 1999-2003, the organization's primary focus became the development and implementation of on-the-ground employment strategies and services that directly addressed employers' reservations in hiring underserved populations while providing the target individuals with viable economic opportunities that allowed compensation at 42% above minimum wage.
In mid 2005, Business Interface received a DSYODP continuation grant from DOL to further demonstrate its demand-side employment model serving at-risk and offender youth in four cities: Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; and, Washington, DC.
The organization as delivered services to five of the largest metropolitan markets in the United States. Our value as a business intermediary is well recognized by our partners in the cities we serve. The organization has moved from High Profile to High Impact.