Turning Basin Labs
Guest post by Stephen Bediako, Managing Director/ Cooperative Director of Turning Basin Labs
We started Turning Basin Labs in August 2019 to meet the need for workers to have a staffing agency that works for them. We aimed to build an inclusive agency that focused on hiring and placing diverse talent, and supporting them with ownership, development and services (including some benefits). We believe that TBL increases the productivity of workers, and offers employers access to a service that reduces the friction of hiring contract talent.
We’ve found our forte in the past 2 years, and now execute 3 approaches to employing workers: traditional staffing placements in jobs, “Earn and Learn” paid internships, and paid research positions. Since August 2019, we have placed nearly 150 workers to work, and are on track to deliver over 200 workers by early 2022. We’ve managed to place a host of diverse talent into tech, admin, bookkeeping and light manufacturing roles; 50% of all interns/placements are BIPOC, over 50% are Women, and over 40% are returning citizens. We have placed people in Office, Research, Finance and Tech roles and we have paid our workers an average of $27 an hour.
To achieve this, we have collaborated with a set of critical partners, including JFF, JVS, Kaiser, Martinez Education, CROP, Irvine Foundation, New World Foundation, Berkeley Underground Scholars and JobTrain, to both source talent and provide employment opportunities.
We have additionally had the amazing support of PVF as a fiscal sponsor to support our goal of making TBL a worker co-op. We do not want to become only a charity, we believe building social businesses is going to be key to supporting our communities to achieve their potential. It’s about fair wealth creation rather than just a focus on alleviation.
In the coming months we will focus on growing our impact by growing our network of large, inclusive suppliers, hiring staffing experts and advisors, and securing further finance from funders and investors. We will need approximately $1M to scale properly. We have wonderful philanthropic and investor support and just need one to two more to come on board and help us access the resources we need.
We are so excited about the work, we have an amazing team, amazing backers and amazing workers and employers – we want to build a movement, and we hope to hear from others passionate about this work.