Israel has a growing number of low-income people who are in urgent need of support and guidance to acquire the skills and opportunities they need in order to obtain steady employment and sustain themselves and their families.
Established in 2009, Dualis is a nonprofit organization that envisions a society in which underserved populations find secure and equitable employment, becoming normative and productive citizens for life. Dualis’ mission is to develop and implement programs, which ensure a process of normalization for at-risk populations within a real working environment. This mission is achieved via vocational on- the-job training (OJT), employment integration and nurturing of life skills for people on the margins of Israeli society.
Working in cooperation with public social welfare agencies and nonprofits that serve disadvantaged populations as well as with prominent entrepreneurs, Dualis has experience with social businesses that employ on-site social workers who help create an inclusive, supportive working environment for at-risk youth, low-income women, single mothers, and people with disabilities. They all work side-by-side with a normative work force. Participants receive steady salaries throughout their training period, and are provided with an in-demand vocation as well as the life skills necessary to find and maintain stable employment.
A unique element of the program – one that contributes greatly to its success – is the fact that participants are learning on the job as part of a real business venture, tackling real life work challenges, learning to work with others, and facing real customers. Once participants complete their training, they are fully prepared to work effectively in other job environments, and Dualis helps them find full-time employment elsewhere so that a new group of trainees can begin training and working in the social businesses.
Dualis directs funding to new social businesses, and identifies the most promising as they become financially viable in order to create scale-up replications that can impact on a broad base and large number of people in need. A core part of the organization’s mission is to promote an Israeli business environment that is open to and supportive of social businesses as mainstream business entities.
While each social business is expected to be financially self-sustaining and profitable within 4-5 years, Dualis provides hands-on support that is needed by small businesses in management, business development, marketing, and social support providing a framework for businesses to achieve results that promote a social goal instead of primarily seeking to maximize profits.