Resource Inc. has assisted thousands of people in finding housing, jobs, mental health treatment and other help.
Thousands of Minnesotans are struggling on the margins of the economy, and some of their greatest allies are organizations like Resource Inc.
The organization’s recently appointed president, Kelly Matter, has a clear line of sight on the battles being fought by the jobless, and those suffering from mental illness or drug addiction.
Matter took the job in November, coming from CommonBond Communities, where she was a vice president. Before that she was a VP at Goodwill/Easter Seals. She took over for Debbie Atterberry, who had been president since 2004 and resigned to become a nonprofit consultant.
Resource helped more than 19,000 people in Minnesota in 2012, with everything from training and help finding a new job to housing and mental health treatment. The organization’s annual budget in 2011 was $24.8 million, some $17.4 million of which came from government contracts.
Resource just won a contract to administer a program in Stearns and Benton counties to help people get off public assistance and start working, and Matter plans to launch a capital campaign to update the organization’s buildings.
Q: What attracted you to this position?
A: I have always known Resource employees to be innovative, creative, responsive to community needs and also just good at getting it done. All of us in the nonprofit world have our list of organizations that we would like to work for, and Resource was always on my list.
Q: Why is this work important?
A: It’s about our economy, and making sure that everyone can be a part of our economy, can have a quality of life, can contribute. Everyone wants to contribute.
Q: If the work isn’t done, what happens?
A: More people are homeless, more people aren’t recovering from chemical addiction, mental health. They’re in our prisons instead of in our workforce.
Q: What do you see as the economic landscape today?
A: Is it taking people longer to find jobs now than it was in the past? Yes. Are some of our dislocated workers having to take jobs at lower wages than they were earning previously? Yes. … There’s a large number of low-skilled workers, and the emphasis right now is the impending skills gap, and we are a part of addressing that. If the low-skilled workers are remaining at the bottom of the workforce, it doesn’t create openings for youth and other low-skilled workers.