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Grim Jobs Figures

It is interesting to note that the jobs figures are actually worse than the circa 13% that were announced yesterday, if one takes into account the numbers leaving the country (I know several heading to Canada) and the spike in mature student numbers in the university sector. The really troubling figures are those of young men unemployed between the ages of 21-23.  Walking through Ballymun most days on my way home I am constantly challenging myself to work out ways to solve the unemployment issues in such areas. Ikea is nice to have, but it almost seemed as if that was seen as the one solution to unemployment in the greater area.

It is unfortunate that those in power usually see the social sector purely as the charity/voluntary/services side of it. The potential to create social value AND economic value is rarely discussed. Sources of support and funding are limited.

The new and exciting models of business that exist in a ‘more than profit’ way seem to been largely ignored here in Ireland. Look at Greyston Bakery, an example I often use with students. This isnt just some ‘do-gooder’ operation, they have one of the leading brownie companies in the U.S. They also supply Ben and Jerrys with brownie content for their ice cream. This is a serious business. And a serious social mission. They have developed a coalition with employees, community and shareholders. Not only that but Greyston Bakery, through its profit generation, is a substantial source of revenue for the Greyston Foundation, supporting affordable childcare for community, affordable housing for homeless and low income families, and affordable health care for persons with HIV.

The Greyston Bakery’s by-line? We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people. And they do so at a ‘profit.’ Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it.

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