The “Partnership Project”.

Business Interface continues the legacy founded by President Clinton and supported by President Bush of encouraging the business community to be involved with transitioning people from welfare to work. The “Partnership Project” refers to The Welfare to Work Partnership which began on May 20, 1997.

It began with five companies - Burger King, Monsanto, Sprint, United Airlines and UPS - that recognized a need for the private sector to take the lead in the new mandates of 1996’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform Law).  The reform law imposed a five-year, lifetime limit on welfare benefits and required most adult recipients of public aid to work after two years.

The Partnership, a national nonprofit was not affiliated with the government, interacted with federal, state and local government agencies to move individuals from lives of dependence to independence. It provided innovative workforce solutions for U.S. companies of all sizes and industries to successfully hire, retain and promote welfare recipients and other unemployed and low-income workers, including information, technical assistance and support.  It recruited more than 20,000 businesses, or Business Partners, that committed to hire or retain former welfare recipients and other unemployed and low-income workers, including 65 of the Fortune 100.  Seventy-five percent of the businesses have 250 or fewer employees

After a 22-year career at United Parcel Services (UPS) – Rodney Carroll was named the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Welfare to Work Partnership in December 2000. In that role, he managed the day-to-day operations of The Partnership while sharing his experience of private sector welfare to work programs with businesses nationwide.  As a forward thinking corporate business professional committed to serving the less fortunate, Mr. Carroll was able to bring a unique perspective to The Partnership’s work.  Raised in an impoverished neighborhood in North Philadelphia, he is himself was a welfare to work success story.  His career at UPS began as a part-time loader in 1978. By 1983, Mr. Carroll was promoted to one of four Hub Managers at the Willow Grove facility, managing 250 employees. His last assignment with UPS was Operations Division Manager at the Philadelphia Air Hub, a facility employing nearly 4,000 non-managerial employees. During that time, he crafted innovative transportation solutions with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority; contributing to the creation of new bus routes to move low-income workers from outlying suburbs to fill critical entry-level jobs at the Philadelphia Air Hub facility.

 

In 1998 when Mr. Carroll started working with The Welfare to Work Partnership as an executive on loan, he quickly became known for eloquent speeches with a powerful underlying philosophy: “I was once where you are and you can be where I am.”  His motivational and inspirational presence has brought his message to places as diverse as Lancaster, PA, New York, NY, and Glasgow City in Scotland. In August 1999, Mr. Carroll reached national visibility when he co-moderated a Town Hall meeting on welfare reform with former President Clinton at The Welfare to Work Partnership’s One America Conference in Chicago. Mr. Carroll was honored with the Mickey Leland Humanitarian award from the Congressional Black Caucus in 2000 and again in 2003 with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the University of Georgia Perimeter College. As a follow-up to the One America Conference in 1999, Mr. Carroll co-moderated a second Town Hall meeting in Chicago, with President George Bush.  In May 2002, he released his first book No Free Lunch, illustrating the realities of life on welfare and the challenges faced by a forgotten group of Americans who want to reclaim their independence through work. He has been featured on such programs as The Paula Zahn Show on Fox News, the Diane Rehm Show and NBC’s Today Show.

In July of 2006, The Welfare to Work Partnership a non-profit ended and Business Interface of Maryland LLC a for-profit company began. The mission of Business Interface is

To serve as an effective demand-driven workforce intermediary whose primary focus is to help businesses fill critical labor market gaps by employing the economically disabled. 

The organization serves as the interface between socially conscious employers in need of a productive, committed workforce and an untapped pool of labor that is qualified and ready to work.