Beyond the pandemic, a lot of major events occurred in the past year. Political matters, natural disasters, and the most widespread social upheaval, the racial fight led by Black Lives Matter rocked the world even as it was locked down.
Although 2020 had been tough for most of the world, the year had also been full of heart-warming stories. There were white people defending black protesters from the police, residents in isolation giving homage to health workers from the balconies and windows of their homes, and a lot more.
Perhaps, in the past few months, while enjoying the comfort and safety of your home, you have thought about your privileges. And finally, decided that you could — or should — do something with these. While joining an advocacy group is the most feasible option, if you have the capacity, work on the most underprivileged people’s economic problems.
Get into a business that offers blue-collar work.
Blue-collar jobs could be lucrative for a business. Most of these require manual labor that not even a high school diploma is necessary. Look into a janitorial service franchise since the salaries are negotiable, and many immigrants are employed in this sector. Another one is a Laundromat or dry-cleaning service. They also have lower salaries, and they employ mostly women. You don’t have to pay twice their usual wages, but you could provide additional benefits, like providing staff training that would allow them to find better jobs later. Your goal would not be to keep these employees but to help them get decent-paying jobs without having to go through hell.
Run a small recruitment or placement agency.
Don’t charge your applicants, though. Rather, get your pay from the employers. You could, again, organize some training programs that all of those hired under your agency would undergo. This would put a premium on the applicants you accept. The key is always to improve the employment prospects of the people who most likely didn’t get the chance to finish school.
Many recruitment agencies, instead of helping the most in need, are ripping them off. Since they find that these people are desperate, they could require higher payments.
Connect with social entrepreneurs.
If you aren’t one and haven’t started an initiative of this kind, you can collaborate with those who already have the experience. Either you could seek their help in establishing a similar business in the community you wish to support, or you could ask them to manage one directly.
Don’t run a charity that gives dole-outs.
There are plenty of other businesses you could go into that could pioneer good employment standards for the underprivileged. What you don’t want to do, however, is end up giving dole-outs. You want to support the people who are doing their best, not those slacking off, wanting an easy life without any effort. To prevent your initiative from turning into one, make sure that your goal of developing their skills for better employment should be primary. You could set a maximum number of years that an employee could stay with you. It doesn’t have to be strict as there could be unforeseeable circumstances that would not allow someone to find another job, but lay down your intention and make it clear from the start.
Expressing your support for people after hearing their sob stories can only go so much. These people are probably tired of hearing statements of encouragement when their lives are not getting any better. Sure, expressing support is also needed, especially in changing public opinion about their situation, but actual help is the underprivileged need. One could be to go to the government to lobby or march the streets calling for systemic change. Another could be you, yourself, creating opportunities for them.