Chicago, IL: Solve’s collaborative network platform for cities connects systematically underemployed jobseekers in Chicago with over 200 social services and employers, improving the social capital of candidates through a referral system. The platform allows job candidates to work directly with nonprofits after completion of what Solve calls a barrier survey, which takes data points on a variety of socio-economic barriers from education to mental health, before applying for jobs. Solve allows nonprofits to upload their own client list, giving their clients instant access to hundreds of resources and jobs. Nonprofits can then refer their candidates to a variety of services (workforce development, housing, transportation, etc.) and job opportunities based on their barriers.
Partnerships with Solve allow for the ability to identify individuals who were not easily identifiable before, thus increasing both the likelihood of being hired, as well as the talent pool available for employers. Currently, Solve connects over 400 job candidates to over 250 social services and 70 employers. Partners include organizations such as Lasalle Network, Rush University, University of Chicago, Clayco, Lakeside Alliance, Lisc, Teamwork Englewood, Bright Star, and GBNN. So far 210 people have received jobs through Solve’s platform and nonprofit partners.
With Solve, cities and their communities can change the narrative of persistent poverty by utilizing the digital platform that democratizes employment opportunities and support from social services. According to a recent study done by the Urban Institute a Social Determinant to health is employment
https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/unstable-work-patterns-challenge-compliance-safety-net-work-requirements, many social safety nets have work requirements that are unreasonable for many applicants due to barriers spanning from lack of job training to housing. Solve allows for social services to combat these barriers during the application process.
The start-up’s impact in Chicago has been noted by small and large companies alike. Adam Hecktman, director of technology and civic innovation at Microsoft mentioned, “Solve gives people a 360 degree view of clients, so that they can be helped. This increase in efficiency makes Chicago a better place for everyone!”
This is in fact the exact objective Solve’s co-Founder and CEO, Matt Strauss, had in mind when creating the company. Its ability to increase collective social impact in Chicago has been made possible through its partnerships with companies such as Lasalle Networks.
Tom Gimbel, Founder and CEO of Lasalle Networks, confirms that for this reason, and the Company’s innovative technology, allows the company to “stay above the competition.”
Tom Gimbel Founder and CEO of Lasalle Networks mentioned:
“The reason the Lasalle Network decided to partner up with Solve, was really because of two reasons; number one the technology, number two the access to a talent pool that has been underserved… the ability to identify people who are not readily available in other areas became apparent that, that is what we have to do to stay above the competition, and Solve brings us that solution.”
Mark Mitchell of Teamwork Englewood mentioned:
“We are in the business of transforming lives at Teamwork Englewood’s Re-entry Program. Our guys deserve a second chance and that’s what we provide them. Solve allows us to double down on providing even more opportunities and resources.”
Kathy Cullick of Greater Bronzeville Neighborhood Network mentioned:
“We are always looking at ways of building relationships that turn into resources for the residents within our reach. It’s exciting to bring all of our organizations and residents together in Bronzeville through a digital platform.”
Founder and CEO of Solve, Matt Strauss, 2019 Crain’s Chicago 20 in their 20s member, mentioned:
“Our team is grateful to be working with innovators and changemakers from South Loop to South Shore. We are learning that the city wants to come together, but that takes a lot of time. Solve is becoming a tool that saves time by connecting people to jobs and social services to increase our collective impact across Chicago!”
Microsoft’s director of technology and civic innovation, Adam Hecktman, mentioned:
“We’re all looking to make this city a great place to live and work. The best part about Solve is the ability to track every referral, interaction and impact on a client. Solve gives people a 360 degree vision of clients, so that they can be better helped. This increase in efficiency makes Chicago a better place for everyone!”