December 14, 2020
Last April, as COVID led to shutdowns nationwide, Goodwill of Central Florida opted to close GoodSource Staffing after four years of operation. To keep people employed and meet ongoing demand to fill essential election season and municipal jobs, former VP of Staffing Services Yvette Fernandez approached First Step Staffing CEO Amelia Nickerson about opening a branch in Orlando.
First Step, like GoodSource, focuses on employing and supporting job seekers experiencing homelessness, and moved quickly to enter this new market. First Step brought Yvette and her recruiting partner Christine Vega on board July 1 and within a week, they were placing people with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office.
In November, Orlando’s Mayor and City Council approved First Step Staffing as a staffing vendor, awarding the business a 3-year contract that continues the City's commitment to employing vulnerable job seekers and providing a pathway to stable work and income.
First Step’s Orlando office is in the Christian Service Center, which hosts multiple homeless services organizations under one roof. Applicants can access housing assistance and case management from the Homeless Services Network, and the nonprofit SALT – Service and Love Together – offers free showers, clothing, haircuts, meals, and other basic necessities.
First Step now operates in 6 states, employing 1,800 people each week who will earn $42 million in wages this year. Last week, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recognized First Step with its Power and Dignity of Work Extra Mile award, honoring the organization's "income first" approach and its role in addressing homelessness in the midst of COVID-19! We congratulate the team at First Step and invite you to watch the 5-minute award presentation.