Updated Mar 30, 2019

Connor Schoen

Send Message

Breaktime is a youth-led service-sector social enterprise that launches the careers of young adults experiencing homelessness through employment and empowerment. We provide direct employment, vocational training, and career mentorship.

Breaktime is a youth-led social enterprise that launches the careers of young adults experiencing homelessness through employment and empowerment. Breaktime’s niche is as a bridge between first-stage training programs run by other non-profits and full-time employment in the broader workforce. Breaktime provides around one year of direct employment in a supportive work environment along with vo...
SEE ALL
Breaktime is a youth-led social enterprise that launches the careers of young adults experiencing homelessness through employment and empowerment. Breaktime’s niche is as a bridge between first-stage training programs run by other non-profits and full-time employment in the broader workforce. Breaktime provides around one year of direct employment in a supportive work environment along with vocational training, one-on-one career mentorship, help matching with future job opportunities, and continued support in new job positions. One way we create employment opportunities is by identifying local businesses with a shortage of labor. We then nurture the skills and confidence of young adults experiencing homelessness. Finally, these business partners contract Breaktime to fill their employment needs. These small businesses hired Breaktime to handle the sales, marketing, and distribution of catering and corporate partnerships, providing good pay and great experiences to our employees. In addition, Breaktime has partnered with non-profit Community Works Services to develop the Breaktime Cafe, the first training cafe in the region to support and employ young adults experiencing homelessness. This cafe will not only be a hub for our programming, provide our young adults with a living wage and substantive work experience, but will also be a sustainable social enterprise that promotes interaction, community cohesion, and reduces the stigma around homelessness.
SEE LESS

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We have already piloted a sales training program as well as a catering training program. We are also working on piloting a cafe fully staffed by homeless youth. However, we are overall now in the process of expanding the number of employees we have.

Focus Areas:

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mentoring/Coaching and Workforce Development

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mentoring/Coaching and Workforce DevelopmentSEE LESS

Implemented In:

United States

United StatesSEE LESS

5
Lives Impacted to Date
1
Key Partner
1
Country Implemented In
5
Employees
$40,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

Young adults experiencing homelessness face challenges accessing and maintaining jobs. Not only does their housing status lead to negative stigma, but many have also been forced to drop out of school and have few experiences to put on their resume. Even after a job training program, over 60% of young adults experiencing homelessness are still unemployed a year after graduating. Even with a job, the lack of support and sensitivity contributes to a high turnover rate for this population.

}

Solution

Breaktime’s niche is as a bridge between first-stage training programs run by other non-profits and full-time employment in the broader workforce. We offer around one year of direct employment in a supportive work environment along with vocational training, one-on-one career mentorship, help matching with future job opportunities, and continued support in new job positions. We offer B2B services for small businesses with labor shortages and are also developing Breaktime Cafe at 170 Portland St.

Target Beneficiaries

Breaktime is employing and paying five young adults experiencing homelessness at $15/hour. One of our first employees, Erica, was recently placed by us at a sewing job that pays $16.75/hour, and because of this, she is no longer homeless. Over the next year, we aim to replicate this for over ten more young adults. In five years, we will be launching the careers of hundreds of young adults. Their total wages and employment status after one year are our key metrics of success.

Mission and Vision

Breaktime's vision is to break the cycle of homelessness through early intervention by launching the careers of young adults experiencing homelessness.

Competitive Advantage

Breaktime fills the critical need for transitional jobs for homeless youth after preliminary training programs. Additionally, our programming and continued support offers advantages to B2B clients and our social mission will attract cafe customers.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Breaktime currently has only about 15% of the $200,000 that we seek to grow our impact in 2019. Namely, we are seeking around $150,000 to build a training cafe in Bulfinch Triangle in Boston. We have received a letter of sponsorship from Community Work Services for us to build a cafe in their first-floor space. This cafe would help LGBTI young adults experiencing homelessness become qualified for cafe manager and other management positions.
Funding Goal200,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted50
New Implemented CountriesUnited States

The Team Behind the Innovation

Tony Shu and Connor Schoen are both undergraduates at Harvard University studying Sociology and Applied Mathematics in Economics, respectively. We are natives of Massachusetts, were both Class Presidents and Valedictorians at our high schools, and have been engaged in non-profit work and public service for much of our lives. Within a few months of starting Breaktime, we won at the 2018 Harvard College Innovation Challenge and the 2018 Harvard Innovation and Ventures in Education Competition.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES YOUTH

Milestone

Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Mar 2019
Lives Impacted
5
Jun 2018
Key Partnership
Other
Apr 2018
Created
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
United States

Supporting Materials

Breaktime-Informational-Package-02.19.2019.pdf