In Baltimore, a group of returning citizens — men and women who were formerly incarcerated — faced ridiculously unfair barriers to employment. And so, over the past two years, they formed Core Staffing, a staffing agency with 12 members.
Joseph Cureton, one of Core’s co-founders, is prototyping a platform to help get jobs for as many as 100 members in 2018. I met Joseph in New York, at a 2017 workplace democracy conference. He made the trek from Baltimore, where he hosts the BMore Black Techies meetup (their unofficial mascot is a crow clutching a knife in its beak).
“A platform could help us ramp up operations,” Joseph told me on the phone recently.“It’s technology doing what it’s supposed to do.”
Core Staffing is a co-op that connects members to jobs. But to Joseph, the usefulness of a co-op structure is an open question. What’s more, by building a platform and securing financing at the same time, Core Staffing members are really going out on a limb. Where can they find a supportive community focused on co-operative platforms?
I wrote this article to examine the idea of “platform cooperativism,” where it’s headed, and what it needs in order to use technology for economic justice.
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