Sozo Trading Co. Partners with Workshops Empowerment Inc.
Published: July 24, 2021
Sozo Trading Co., located in the Avondale community in Birmingham, has partnered with Workshops Empowerment, Inc. (WE inc.) to provide on-the-job training for local area high school students with disabilities. The summer program is part of the WE inc. Summer Job Exploration Training (JET) program.
“We were thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with another nonprofit in Birmingham,” says Caitlin Owens, Manager of Sozo Trading Co. Six members of the program have been working at the store in Avondale learning about merchandising, retail, and sorting donations for sale or recycle. “We have enjoyed partnering with Workshops and hope the experience has given the workers a boost of confidence along with some work experience that will help them in their careers,” Owens says.
Sozo Trading Co., is a Birmingham-based thrift marketplace designed to create sustainable income for Sozo Children, a non-profit Christian ministry caring for vulnerable children in Uganda, Africa. Located in the Avondale community, the store recently celebrated its sixth year in business and recently launched a textile recycling initiative with the goal of creating a sustainable workplace while being environmentally responsible.
“Workshops Empowerment Inc. is thankful for the opportunity to work with Sozo Trading, says Susan Crow, Executive Director of WE Inc. “We have a mutually beneficial relationship in which WE Inc. summer program participants – all high school students with disabilities – gain valuable work experience and Sozo benefits from having six additional workers in their store.”
Workshops Empowerment, Inc., is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities and other barriers to employment reach their vocational potential. For more than 120 years WE Inc. has assisted people with disabilities to live full lives by becoming employed. WE Inc. offers an array of vocational rehabilitation services that are geared toward helping people with disabilities in the job market.
“This sort of collaboration strengthens both of our nonprofits and helps each of us better achieve our missions, says Crow. “Most importantly, the staff at Sozo Trading has been incredibly welcoming and helpful, instilling a positive attitude toward work in our participants.”
“The workers have been eager to learn and added a boost of energy to the store with their smiles and positive attitudes,” Owens says. ‘Working with WE. Inc. has been a great partnership for us and a perfect way to serve the community we call home.
About Sozo Children
Sozo Children was founded in 2010 to serve the needs of vulnerable children in the nation of Uganda. Currently, Sozo provides care for more than 120 children and maintains an upscale thrift store, Sozo Trading Co. in Avondale, benefitting the ministry. To learn more about Sozo Children, or to sponsor a child, visit www.sozochildren.org.