Create Common Good 3

Helping communities one job at a time

When someone who is struggling finds a place of stability, an entire community can benefit. Local non-profit Create Common Good does exactly what its name suggests—help communities improve.

“Our main mission is to help people with barriers to employment by providing food service job training and placement,” says Kelly Parker, Director of Community Engagement. “As long as someone is willing to identify their barrier, we can help them.”

Parker says a ‘barrier’ can be a variety of things. Refugees often have barriers of language or culture, while someone coming out of the prison system or a woman overcoming a domestic violence situation has barriers of their own. “We believe everyone has value and is not just a product of their circumstance,” Parker says.

Create Common Good has been in Idaho since 2008, when its founder moved to the Gem State after living and working in Thailand and then meeting Thai refugees in Idaho who needed help.

Since 2008, Create Common Good has trained 549 individuals, placing 82 trainees in food service jobs this calendar year. “We’re focused on quality and quantity,” Parker says, “but we value quality first. Companies need skilled workers.”

The average trainee who walks through Create Common Good’s door earns $1.13 per hour. Most earn nothing. After the 4-8 week training period, trainees earn $9.57 per hour on average. “We help them move to being fully independent,” Parker says. “We are preaching a message to our trainees that self-sufficiency is really important.”

Create Common Good works with a wide network of food service employers from Whole Foods and Chick Fil A, to the Boise Airport and Mom-and-Pop type shops. The non-profit also partners with Jackson’s Convenience Store and works in their food production kitchen to supply items to Jackson’s.

“Since we’re a newer non-profit, our goal is to fill a gap in our community,” Parker says. “The people we’re working with are likely already working with other awesome organizations in our community.” Parker explained that Create Common Good often gets referrals form caseworkers at the Boise Rescue Mission, for example. “It’s really the partnerships with other organizations in the community that make us work,” she notes.

Create Common Good is very focused on the “why” of what they do. “If people in our community think everyone has value, we invite them to join us in our work,” Parker says. “We like to help people reach their full potential.”

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