Samaschool

Empowering Low-Income Individuals through Gig Work Training

Design and implement a training program aimed at equipping low-income individuals with the skills and knowledge to navigate and secure gig work.
Multiple Cohorts Successfully Launched
Earnings Increase for Low-Income Workers
Goal
Over a two-year period, Samaschool will design, pilot, and scale a gig work training program for non-native English speakers and low-income individuals in NYC, with the goal of training 700 participants. By leveraging partnerships and targeted training, the program aims for at least 105 participants to engage in gig work.
Solution
The comprehensive approach to addressing these challenges involved several key steps including direct engagement, Stakeholder Collaboration, Community Involvement, Training Development, and Awareness and Advocacy.

DetailsĀ 

Samaschool, a subsidiary of Samasource, embarked on a transformative two-year project to design and implement a training program aimed at equipping non-native English speakers and low-income individuals with the skills and knowledge to navigate and secure gig work. The initiative responded to the growing gig economy in New York City, recognizing both the opportunities and barriers faced by potential workers in this sector.

Challenge:

The project confronted several obstacles, including skepticism around the reliability and fairness of gig work, upfront costs associated with starting gig work, tax-related fears, and varying levels of technological literacy among the target demographics. Recruiting participants for the training cohorts posed a significant challenge, given these widespread concerns and distrust.

Solution:

The comprehensive approach to addressing these challenges involved several key steps:

  • Direct Engagement: Personal participation in various gig platforms to gain firsthand experience and insights into the gig economy’s workings and challenges.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Establishing partnerships with platforms that aligned with our objectives to ensure the program’s relevance and effectiveness.
  • Community Involvement: Conducting focus groups and community assessments to deeply understand the target population’s needs and apprehensions.
  • Training Development: Creating robust training materials based on research findings, personal experiences, and collaborations with gig platforms and community leaders.
  • Awareness and Advocacy: Producing a white paper and presentation to highlight the gig economy’s potential benefits and addressing common misconceptions and fears.

Implementation:

  • Pilot Phase: After the initial six months of research and design, the project launched pilot cohorts to refine and optimize the training program.
  • Expansion and Training the Trainers: The second year focused on scaling the initiative, facilitating the optimized training, and preparing official trainers to sustain the program.

Partnerships and Outreach: Collaborating with community-based organizations and workforce development agencies across NYC, including Sunnyside Community Services, Per Scholas, and Henry Street Settlement, to recruit participants and amplify the program’s impact.

Outcomes:

The program successfully trained 700 individuals, with 15% completing one or more gigs. Notably, participants who engaged in five or more gigs experienced a statistically significant income increase, averaging around $5,000. This achievement underscored the program’s effectiveness in empowering individuals to leverage gig work as viable income.

View the informational session I created for our partnership with Care.com

Reflections:

This case study illustrates the potential of targeted training programs to bridge the gap between underserved communities and the gig economy. By addressing key barriers to entry and developing partnerships with platform stakeholders and community organizations, Samaschool demonstrated that with the right support, non-native English speakers and low-income individuals could significantly benefit from gig work opportunities. The project not only enhanced participants’ economic well-being but also contributed valuable insights into the gig economy’s role in workforce development.