The Columbus Chamber and Capital University have partnered to bring the first business-themed podcast to Columbus. During cbuzz, Columbus-based brand journalist Mikaela Hunt will speak with local business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders and allow them to tell their story and highlight their organization, while further inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit that is buzzing in the city.
John Rush, president and CEO of CleanTurn Enterprises, provides an enlightening and educational discussion around employing individuals with challenges in their past on the latest episode of the Columbus Chamber’s cbuzz podcast.
CleanTurn’s for-profit social enterprises She Has a Name Cleaning Services and CleanTurn Demolition Services have created more than 400 jobs for individuals that have faced a variety of obstacles in their lives, from human trafficking and incarceration to addiction.
“We want to open the door so that they can walk right in and move forward to what we call interdependent self sufficiency,” Rush says.
He’s also invested in educating the broader community on how to work with these populations in a manner that’s beneficial both for the business and for the individuals seeking employment.
“It’s not shutting the door because of a person’s past, it’s understanding a person’s past so as to create the right culture within your corporation that can accommodate and help an individual to move forward,” Rush says.
He’s had plenty of conversations with business owners that are either hesitant to hire individuals with challenges in their past, or have done so with limited success. Rush says the apprehension is natural. What changes minds, and results, is a carefully crafted and individualized approach for every business.
Rush says a company has to look at their business model, the needs of their business, and the population they are considering hiring and create vetting mechanisms that accommodate those individuals. Sometimes that vetting will mean saying no to employment and referring that individual to other services that are more appropriate to where they are on their journey – like treatment or transitional housing.
A business can’t solve all the social issues right out of the gate, so it is important to assess what is and is not within their capabilities and know when it’s time to seek partners to accommodate the needs they can’t.
Accountability is also an important factor in a business’ culture when when working with these populations. That means a drug- and alcohol-free workplace. Rush stresses to potential employees the need to take their road to recovery seriously.
During the podcast, Rush also discusses the importance of empathy. Regardless of how many people he has employed or worked with, every story is different. It can be a privilege to be the one to listen when an individual is ready to make a change. It has helped him hire some of the best employees – they just needed the opportunity.
Tune into the full podcast for more key takeaways in the discussion surrounding employment, and the shifting mindset leveraging for-profit business models to impact society in a positive way.
Never miss a cbuzz podcast! Visit the Columbus Chamber website for more great stories and advice from local business owners.
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