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BUSINESS PROFILE NO QUESTIONS ASKED The Success of Greyston Bakery and the Open Hiring Model
Bakery’s open hiring model and achieving the same level of success. During the Center’s first year, they hosted over 50 employers. Greyston Bakery continues to grow. They produce 35,000 pounds of award-winning brownies a day, and along with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, they are also featured on Delta Airlines international flights and sold at Whole Foods Markets across the country. In 2015, Greyston Bakery was ranked in the top 10% of B corporations worldwide. Their open hiring process has created 3,500 living wage jobs, and Greyston Bakery itself employs 150 full- time workers. Greyston Bakery bases its success on how it can change lives and points its workers toward their mission. Dion Drew, a bakery supervisor at Greyston, exemplifies how open hiring can change lives. Drew was released from prison in 2009, returning to Yonkers with three felonies and no money. He had no luck finding a job and almost returned to a life of selling drugs to make ends meet. After he put his name on the job queue at Greyston, he received a call about a job once his name reached the top of the queue. Ten years later, Drew has received several promotions and recently bought a car and three-bedroom house with his fianceé and their kids. “I accomplished all the goals I set out for myself,” said Drew in an interview with U.S. News and World Report. “I want to be a positive influence now. I want to see Yonkers and my community grow.”
had spent time in prison, or had otherwise unstable living situations. But, so long as they were willing to work, they had a place at Greyston Bakery. The bakery boomed, and just five years after opening, they partnered with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to make the brownies for their Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, a partnership that has lasted to this day. Glassman and his wife, Sandra, who was also a Zen Buddhist teacher, didn’t just have a vision for a successful bakery, a successful business partnership, or even just to give jobs to people that needed them. They wanted an organization that gave back to the community by providing things like housing, health care, social services, and childcare. And even though Glassman and his wife moved on from Greyston Bakery to other projects, their vision lives on. Now, Greyston Bakery acts as the for-profit arm of Greyston Foundation Inc., which also oversees the nonprofit organization Greyston Health Services, Inc. After 37 years, Greyston Bakery continues to both make delicious loads of brownies and hire from the Yonkers community, “no questions asked.” Any prospective employee simply needs to put their name and phone number on the list of applicants, and they’re guaranteed a job if there’s an opening. Last year, the bakery’s years of experience culminated in establishing the Center for Open Hiring at Greyston, a place that “evaluates, improves, and defines open hiring best practices.” The Center offers education, training, advisory services, and research opportunities for businesses that are interested in Greyston
Whether it was recently or years ago, we’ve all been through the job hiring process. Securing a job can come with all sorts of obstacles for even the most qualified applicants, but for job seekers who have disabilities, done time in prison, or are otherwise marginalized, those obstacles can be impossible to surmount. businesses that hire them are few and far between, unemployment, poverty, and even homelessness may seem unavoidable. Fortunately, one business in Yonkers, New York, has shown that hiring based on a willingness to work rather than background can lead to their employees’ personal growth, the growth of their business, and the growth of their community. Greyston Bakery was founded in 1982 by Zen Buddhism teacher Bernie Glassman. While living in Greyston Mansion, a place just north of Manhattan, with his students, Glassman decided he wanted to do more to develop his community — namely through helping the homeless and the unemployed. He had previously opened a small bakery with the help of the Zen Community of New York as a way to employ his students. Drawing from this experience, and from the experience of a Buddhist-run bakery in San Francisco, Glassman opened Greyston Bakery in Yonkers with a team that did not include any bakers or businesspeople. At the time, Yonkers had the highest rate of homelessness per capita in the United States. After a while, Greyston Bakery began hiring workers from the community, many of whom were uneducated, Many of the people who fit into one of those descriptions want to work. However, when the
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