Raspberry Gummy Fish, Ginger Zing Trail Mix, Firehouse No. 10 Chili Mix: these are products that create jobs for people like Carla Johnson.
"First of all, just having employment makes a difference," she said. “Second of all, knowing that I have the type of support that I need to function outside in society is a great help.”
Johnson is working as a production assistant with Women’s Bean Project, a nonprofit that’s been transforming lives since 1989.
The Women’s Bean Project hires women who experience chronic unemployment and teaches them skills, not just to get a job, but to keep it.
“Everything we sell is sold to support the women in the program,” said Tamara Ryan, CEO of the organization, which got its name and its start by employing two women to make one-bean soup more than 30 years ago.
Now, it’s grown to distributing dozens of food products across the country and helping employ thousands of women while also teaching them life skills.
“They’re learning financial literacy, they’re learning to create a letter, to interview," Ryan said. “All the things that will make them better employees, better community members and better moms.”
Women here go through a seven-month program to graduate. It’s been so successful, that it’s now expanding, which means more jobs for more women.
“I think we are making the community better. When you change a woman’s life, you change her family’s life,” Ryan said.
For people like Johnson, the Women’s Bean Project means more than a paycheck. It’s a way for them to transform their lives
“We all agree that this is probably the best job in the world,” she said. “Because it’s not no hard work, it’s loving work.”