NEW YORK — Greyston Bakery and Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) were featured in the "Community Health and Economic Prosperity: Engaging Businesses as Stewards and Stakeholders" report issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Surgeon General.

The report goes in-depth about how business leaders investing in community health can ramp up the health of the economy.

“Health disparities arise not just from unequal access to healthcare but also from unequal access to economic opportunity, meaningful work, stable families, livable housing, reliable transportation, quality education, and thriving communities,” said Alex Azar, secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Greyston focuses on the health of its community and employees through its partnership with WJCS and its open hiring model. The open hiring framework is a staffing model where employees are hired without a background check or resumes. The company uses this model to staff its entry-level positions.

Since 2016, Greyston and WJCS have partnered to build a team that provides support to the employees at Greyston. Many Greyston employees face social and economic struggles keeping them from personal and professional success.

“We take down the barriers to employment through our hiring process, but we also want to support our employees along their journey by providing that additional support that allows them to be successful personally as well as professionally,” said Joseph Kenner, president and chief executive officer, Greyston.

[Related listening: Open hiring unlocks untapped labor pools for Greyston Bakery]

Greyston and WJCS created the Employment PathMaker position to provide support services to employees that otherwise would not be available to them. The Employment PathMaker position is a case manager provided by WJCS who works in the bakery. The social worker works with and supports staff members as they go through personal and professional challenges. These services include anger management classes and affordable housing assistance. It is this kind of support that gained the attention of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Employment PathMaker sets goals and creates plans to improve their work/life balance so they can be successful.

“Through this relationship, Greyston has access to WJCS’ network of clinics and other professionals,” Mr. Kenner said. “For instance, throughout the COVID pandemic, many of our employees have lost loved ones, we have had deaths in the family and within our workforce, and WJCS has given us invaluable access to grief counselors that can meet with our folks — virtually, of course — to counsel and support them in their time of need. This is not just the right thing to do; it’s just another way to make sure our employees are thriving both professionally and personally.

This is the next evolution of human resources where companies are making these other connections that support their employees.”

Greyston wants to take the open hiring model and encourage other businesses to adopt it. The goal is to make hiring processes more inclusive.

Seeing more companies do open hiring and leveraging the model to impact their own communities is how business can really be a true force for good, Mr. Kenner added.

“And business leaders begin to look at their employees more holistically,” he said. “Programs like PathMaking foster healthier, more productive workplaces for all staff, regardless of how they’re hired. It’s a win-win for everybody.”