by Sonja Kraft
We are excited to announce that we have added a new department at Purnaa! 27 new people were hired! Instead of sewing, this team is hand-tying fishing lures. The new team includes 1 assistant project manager, 4 quality control members, 4 packing team members, and 18 fly-fishing tiers. This is the largest intake of employees we have ever hired at one time and it was very exciting for everyone.
Choosing who to hire from the many, many applicants is always challenging. As a social enterprise we are committed to empowering those from marginalized and exploited backgrounds into fresh starts through dignified employment. But, we can’t hire people based only on their need. New hires must also demonstrate an ability to learn the work. And so, we conducted a full week of interviews and skills assessment to determine those that would be the best fit for the job and for our social mission. Everyone received an individual interview and two days of skills training to see how quickly they learned the skills and if they would enjoy this type of work. Today, we are confident in the people we hired becoming some of the best fishing lure manufacturers in the world! They are already off to a great start.
With many new employees coming from backgrounds where basic education was denied, or where they experienced extreme abuse or trauma, we strongly prioritize equipping them with knowledge that will help them to “catch up” in life. So we implement life-skills training half the day and job-skills training half the day for the first two months of their new job. The life-skills training covers topics like: financial planning, basic math and literacy skills, nutrition, parenting, individual mental health counseling, physical health, and group times to identify and recognize self-worth. During the training, the values of Purnaa and why they are so important to the business are also taught. In January, the team will move to full days of manufacturing.
Purnaa had the goal of creating 8-12 new jobs within this year and this new department has helped us to far exceed that goal. This has been a wonderful opportunity to make a new product and create so many more opportunities for fresh starts and fulfilled lives.