An innovative partnership between merchants, suppliers, and nonprofit agencies is adding social value to everyday business purchases in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The Social Purchasing Portal closes the loop for employment development programs by building local demand for the goods and services of firms that employ their graduates.
"In Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) a host of training programs have long aimed to address the disproportionately high levels of poverty and unemployment in the neighbourhood. Many residents are willing to join the labour market and improve their lives. They frequently face a thorny problem, however: while there are multiple training programs targeting DTES residents, there were few jobs for program graduates.
"Training in itself is insufficient. It handles only the supply side of the unemployment issue - the supply of skilled workers. Instead, consideration must also be given to the demand side - the local demand for these workers."