REDF Jobs Report: Social Enterprises, Economic Self-Sufficiency, and Life Stability


Author +
Nan Maxwell, Dana Rotz, and Adam Dunn

Year: 2015

REDF commissioned a first-of-its-kind jobs study to evaluate the impact of social enterprise for people facing barriers to work and its benefits for society.

Social enterprises (SEs) are mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people who face barriers to work. In 2011, REDF funded organizations in California to expand and support SEs and commissioned an evaluation to assess this approach. This brief highlights key findings from an outcomes evaluation of 282 SE workers in seven REDF-supported organizations; an impact evaluation comparing outcomes for 154 SE workers and 37 work-eligible individuals not hired by the SE at one organization; and an accompanying cost-benefit analysis.

Key findings include:

  • Social enterprises helped improve economic self-sufficiency and life stability outcome
  • Self-sufficiency and life stability increased with support received after leaving the social enterprise
  • The social enterprise experience adds value to society