Working to create jobs for the vulnerable population at Wash Cycle Laundry extends beyond simply handing out paychecks; instead, it means providing employees with training so that they are equipped with both hard and soft skills. Training program allows employees to grow and develop, and see the upward mobility that was once not even in the picture.
I got to be part of the career development workshop led by Cait Garozzo along with the laundry team leaders. Cait comes in every month to lead a training session with employees. She also facilitates conversations between the management team and the front line service team. Prior to her current position as a project manager at Career Wardrobe, Cait worked as a consultant for a nonprofit, and she mostly worked with the vulnerable population. “I know their language,” said Cait, “I think they are really capable and smart, with a lot of potential, and I love to work to bring these talents out of them.”
The workshop centered around work space culture and values, and specifically what the employees want them to be and how we can get there at Wash Cycle Laundry. Cait encouraged everyone to speak out. Further, she asked people to reason and articulate their ideas. She would paraphrase or extract the idea behind the specific examples to check whether or not she understood their ideas.
The workspace culture and values, in another light, create a set of “language” for the company. Many factors such as, communication style, decision-making process and so on, play into shaping a micro-culture for the company. Some of the values mentioned by the Laundry Team Leaders were: transparency, team building activities, communication, and integrity. Some these values are being practiced either by individuals, or by the company without being acknowledged. For example, Market Manager Rich meets with Laundry Team Leaders weekly to go over operation efficiency in each laundry facility; daily huddle in the officer in order to keep everyone in the management team informed.
As a social enterprise startup, Wash Cycle Laundry has been dedicating time and energy to create incentives, and to provide opportunities for leadership development and internal mobility. Administrative hours allow the Team Leaders, and Members to go beyond doing laundry and cycling. Jobs at Wash Cycle Laundry are integral to the growth of the compnay, and growth of its employees. Wash Cycle Laudnry is open to changes to serve better, and be better.
Yue Xiang is a rising junior at Haverford College, a liberal arts college located in suburban Philadelphia. She currently works as a Marketing Intern at Wash Cycle Laundry this summer, where she has been going on "field-trips" to laundry facilities to learn about the staff members and our operational process. She will be writing more about what she learns and people at Wash Cycle Laundry.