Behind every data point are people and their stories…


I love numbers. Charts, graphs, statistics, whatever. I love the concepts that numbers eloquently express: size, substance, and change, to name a few. And I’m proud of our numbers at Activate.

As recruiters and trainers of under-served people, we measure many things, including the demographics and well-being of our placements. We use data to measure our success in moving individuals to self-sufficiency. For example, the average monthly wage of our placements before working with Activate is $1000; after we place them, they earn an average of $2600 per month.  Our placements experience an average increase of over $19,000 in annual income! Sixty-seven percent of our placements come from minority backgrounds, 60% are women, and 100% of our single moms, such as the ones from our nonprofit partner Hope House, are successful.

As much as I like what our numbers say, it is the stories of individual triumph that make me happiest.  Statistics pale in comparison to the power of life change. This Labor Day, we celebrate our placements, their stories, and the transformative power of good work.

Take Ashley, for example, a young single mom who overcame domestic violence and completed her GED while raising a preschooler. Ashley, a soft-spoken and diminutive brunette, is a battle-tested warrior who powered through and over obstacles while launching her own photography business. As an entrepreneur, she taught herself computer skills, like website design, mastered social media marketing, and learned first-hand the principles of cash flow and capital spending.

We placed Ashley in the financial industry in her first professional job and increased her income by 3.2x. She has mastered the rhythm of balancing full-time work and family, bought a car, moved into her own place, and has savings for the first time in her life. Ashley’s excelled at work, earning 90% ratings for her performance. Financial stability gives her the resources to invest more in her child’s education.  She radiates her new-found confidence and professionalism.

Or Luc, an immigrant from Africa who is now a proud US citizen. Luc is a charismatic man who sports an irrepressible smile and infectious optimism.  He was displaced from his childhood village by ethnic violence and taught accounting in African refugee camps. When he emigrated to the US, he found part-time work, first as a barista at Starbucks, then in customer service at Costco. Luc’s work ethic and sunny disposition earned him employee of the month, three times, but a full-time, full-benefit position proved elusive.

We placed Luc in logistics at a leading hospital chain, where supervisors vie to have him in their department. He’s beginning patient care coursework, to further his career, and is making over double his former income (plus great benefits!). Once stymied and under-employed, Luc now believes he holds the key to his own bright future.

Our clients are diverse, representing a multitude of demographics and life experience. In addition to being “under-resourced”, our placements all possess drive, ambition, and perseverance. They’re frequently called “diamonds” by their employers. Today, they’re living lives that they didn’t dream would be possible a year or two ago. Economic freedom and dignity are realities that good work (and hard work) have provided them. This Labor Day, we celebrate our achievers, our employers, and the stories they’re writing together.