This is the story of how SFMade’s Job Board helped change two men’s lives.
AmericaWorks is an organization that prepares people coming out of prison for re-entry into the workforce. SFMade member McRoskey Mattress Company is a 118 year-old mattress company in the Central Waterfront neighborhood of San Francisco. The two were introduced when AmericaWorks became aware of positions suitable for their clients at McRoskey through SFMade’s Job Board, which provides free job postings for its members and collaborates with workforce partners like AmericaWorks to source candidates.
McRoskey’s new employees, Raymond and Bob, both served over 15 years in prison, starting their sentences before they turned 18 years old. They never thought the sewing experience they gained from jobs in prison would be a useful skill to have in today’s job market.
Raymond and Bob learned about the openings at McRoskey from their job developer, Sabrina of AmericaWorks, who collaborates with SFMade’s Job Board. Sabrina urged Raymond and Bob to apply for the positions and coached them through the application and interview process. She then reached out to SFMade who connected her to McRoskey so they could speak about job expectations before the interview.
Vanessa Contreras, Director of Human Resources and Manufacturing at McRoskey, explained how sewing is one of the more difficult positions to fill. When Vanessa received Raymond’s and Bob’s applications from SFMade, she was excited to find candidates with sewing skills and other attributes that met McRoskey hiring criteria. Once on the job, Vanessa was impressed with how quickly Raymond and Bob learned the skills to build McRoskey’s signature hand-crafted mattresses and box springs. She noted that Bob was learning quickly, easily retaining information, and even making recommendations on how to improve the company’s sewing process.
Meanwhile, Raymond was being trained to build box springs. After three days of training, he had already finished his first box spring and was working independently. Raymond also has some sewing experience from a job he learned in prison, which Vanessa said will be especially useful during the holidays since he will be able to fill in for employees on vacation. Speaking to Raymond about his experience at McRoskey so far, he told us, “This is the first job that really provided me with a future” and that he was happy McRoskey decided to give him a chance.
Thanks to the performance of the new hires, Vanessa stated that the first people she will confidently call when an opening occurs are SFMade and AmericaWorks.
Part of SFMade’s mission is supporting the diverse San Francisco workforce, and one way we work toward that goal is through collaboration with organizations such as AmericaWorks and companies like McRoskey Mattress Company to connect individuals facing barriers to employment to jobs at San Francisco-based manufacturing companies. This story is just one example of how such a partnership can be successful for not only the local workforce, but also the local manufacturing sector.
~ interview and success story by Kelli and Claire @ SFMade.