Commemorating 15 Years of Employing Homeless Men

The Allentown Rescue Mission is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its Clean Team Workforce. The Clean Team Workforce was created to provide full-time employment for homeless men the day after they graduate from the Mission’s Transformation Program and to teach them skills needed to succeed in today’s job market.

Founded in 2008, the Clean Team Workforce was modeled after the New York based program Ready Willing Able which combines social services with paid work to help men ascend the economic ladder and become self-sufficient. The Clean Team Workforce trains its employees, evaluates their skills, and matches them with employers. It effectively operates as a free employment referral agency for graduates of the Transformation Program. Employers like using the Clean Team Workforce because there are no agency fees and no questions asked if an employee doesn’t match the company’s needs.

Over its 15 year history, the Clean Team Workforce has employed nearly 1,000 men and 53% have successfully transitioned into permanent employment in the private sector, regaining their independence. Additionally, 789 customers have partnered with the Clean Team Workforce to resolve their workplace needs and provide meaningful jobs for men working to become self-reliant.

Best known for its litter collecting, the Clean Team Workforce received its first City of Allentown contract in 2011 to pick up trash and recyclables. Since that time, the Clean Team Workforce has removed approximately 1.2M pounds of trash and recyclable materials from the streets of Allentown.

“To think it’s been 15 years already is incredible! I’ve been extremely blessed to manage our Clean Team Workforce,” stated Michael Mauro, Clean Team Workforce Manager. “Not only have I been fortunate to witness so many men on the Clean Team Workforce transition back into the community, but for the community’s support. They say it takes a village and this would not be possible without the support of Allentown City leaders and all of our other customers here in the Lehigh Valley,” added Mauro.

In June of 2023, the Clean Team Workforce developed a new initiative, Wheelchairs to the Rescue, to provide necessary mobility devices for disabled people. Clean Team Workforce employees gather, clean, and organize wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches through property and estate cleanouts, as well as donations, for distribution to Joni and Friends’, an international charity. The project also teaches its employees project management, the joy of giving back to the community, and keeps mobility items out of landfills.