PICS Organization Name
Baker Industries, Inc.
Chris Callegari '21, Annan Timon '19
Baker Industries was founded in 1980 as the direct result of the energy and ingenuity of two individuals who had searched for years in vain for an appropriate working environment for their epileptic, learning-disabled son. In 1980, with two employees, they opened a small mail order business in their garage to begin to fill the void they realized for a learning work environment for high-functioning disabled people. In 1988, a second Baker work site was established in Philadelphia to employ ex-offenders, homeless persons, and recovering substance abusers, who also typically have difficulty getting jobs.
We provide hope. The purpose of our 33-year old workforce development program is to instill a strong work ethic in our population of vulnerable adults (people with disabilities, former substance abusers, ex-offenders, and homeless people) and, in doing so, build their self-esteem and work skills to the point where those who are able are ready to move into the real workforce. Through such vehicles as our temporary employment program, we have been able to help an average of 59 individuals each year to do just that – 59 individuals who become one step closer to becoming independent and productive members of their communities. For those who are unable to be mainstreamed, we provide long-term employment at one of our two work sites (Malvern and Philadelphia). Each year we touch between 200 and 400 individuals. Approximately 70% of our revenue comes from the work that we do – the rest we raise privately. We neither solicit nor accept any government funding. We do not believe there is another organization in this country that does what we do, blending these four, very different types of individuals in a work rehabilitation program, and doing it without any government support.
EMPLOY those who have the most difficulty in getting and holding jobs.
TEACH the work ethic through real work experience.
ACT as a transition step toward gaining and maintaining outside employment.
HELP those who are both able and unable to move on to reach their highest level of achievement.
In a typical year, Baker works with approximately 200 to 400 people. We start with between 150 and 170 Bakerites and we hire between 65 and 250 throughout the year. Our overall vulnerable adult population is typically 50% female and 50% male; and, 43% African American, 38% Caucasian, 17% Hispanic, and 2% Asian. Unfortunately, not all those we touch are able to achieve our ultimate measure of success – a job in the real workforce. However, over the past 19 years, 61 individuals on average have achieved full-time employment each year. Based on the 33 year history of the Baker program, we assist between 16 and 90 people each year to successfully graduate from the Baker program and move forward on the road to independence. Some benefits from our unique program:
We are employing and training segments of our population who most people and organizations do not want to deal with. Over the past three years over 80 of our employees have joined the regular work force and become self-sufficient - - 80 individuals who have ceased being a drain on society and are now contributors to society.
Reduction in the rate of recidivism - - while there are very few specific studies, it is clear from the data that our Director of Alumni Relations has collected while working with our “Graduates” that the individuals we place in the workforce experience a far lower rate of recidivism (which we estimate to be less than 10%) than the general Pennsylvania ex-offender population (PA Department of Corrections Study of Recidivism) indicate that approximately 43% of inmates released return to prison after three years). It has been estimated by the Consensus Group on Reintegration and Reentry of Adjudicated Offenders that the recidivism rate in the city of Philadelphia is 67%.
While in our employ, our Bakerites contribute over $300,000 each year in taxes.
Bakerites perform a variety of tasks in their day-to-day work at Baker Industries, which provides outsourcing services to organizations throughout the Delaware Valley. Our services include many diverse tasks including: folding, stuffing, sorting, labeling, collating, packaging, fulfillment, assembly, fugitive gluing, box forming, re-packaging, shrink wrapping, mailing (1st to 4th class), UPS and FedEx shipping, and a variety of sub-assembly and contract manufacturing work. Virtually all of our work is manual or involves relatively simple tools such as air wrenches, etc. We also provide temporary workers who work on site at area businesses. Our Temps are among the best – they work for us before they work for any other organization. Work ethic is the key to our program.
The benefit that we will derive will vary depending on the interests of the intern. They will be working side-by-side with our vulnerable adult population for a while and then spending time in all other aspects of the business. All of our previous PICS interns have been extremely helpful to us – in many different ways. We believe that they all left us with a feeling of accomplishment – which we think is very important.
We will expose the intern to all aspects of our unique nonprofit. We will begin with them working alongside our Bakerites on the production floor and then move to production scheduling, marketing, grant writing assistance, HR (if we are hiring), accounting (learning) a balance sheet and income statement), and event planning.
We would like to focus more time and effort in an area of the business that is of particular interest to the intern.
Our intern will learn the true difference between a nonprofit and a “for-profit” business (emphasis on business), as well as some basic small business accounting, HR, production, marketing and sales. Hopefully they will also gain an appreciation for the difficulties that our population of vulnerable adults face on a daily basis. Depending on what is happening in Philadelphia, they may also gain an insight into the need for a coordinated collaborative effort in support of the handicapped and ex-offender issues.
We would like to have an intern that has the desire/interest to work with various segments of the vulnerable adult population and who would like to see (and) understand how a nonprofit corporation runs - as well as how it differs from a for-profit corporation.
Good creative computer skills are a must
Expected Start Time
Expected End Time
No earlier than May 30 - no later August 23
Meets Certificate Requirement
As there is good commuter transportation to Malvern, we suggest that interns find housing at Drexel of Penn so they can enjoy the great city of Philadelphia.
Recent interns rented space from Penn or Drexel and lived in Philadelphia - great city - great experience.
One of my favorite moments from this summer took place when one of the participants came down to the office after having been offered a new job. He was brimming with happiness and excitement and it made me grateful and happy to have the opportunity to work at such a life changing organization.
—Annan Timon '19
My experience exposed me to multiple populations who I have never been able to get to know before. Baker's mission is entirely socially focused and primarily just wants to help those who are in need. I learned and improved many real-world skills such as public speaking, organization, and leadership while working at Baker. —Chris Callegari '21