FutureStitch is thinking ahead. The textile company, known for its high-quality socks and advanced knitwear, has always produced its inventory out of a factory in China. But this year, FutureStitch will be opening its first domestic manufacturing plant in California. Its first hirees? Formerly incarcerated women.
Everyone deserves a second chance — The San Diego Workforce Partners and North Country Lifeline are helping Taylor Shupe, CEO and co-founder of FutureStitch, recruit and hire about 20 women this year. Both organizations provide health services to people in the area, helping them access wellness programs and employment partnerships.
Out of 60 FutureStitch employees at the new California plant, Shupe expects 50 of them to be women by next year. Although incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people are often taken advantage of or neglected in the workforce, FutureStitch is also committed to providing livable wages and benefits for the employees.
Each worker’s pay will start at $20 an hour, the same wage across the board for new employees. They’ll also be able to enjoy paid vacation time and holidays. Full health benefits and access to the company’s 401K plan are also in the cards as a way to set up their path for future success. The San Diego Workforce Partners and North Country Lifeline will maintain a connection to the women and provide access to therapy programs and housing support.
Offering a helping hand — The factory will start by making socks exclusively for Stance, an American apparel company, as well as sleeves and other circular knits. In 2023, FutureStitch plans on opening a second domestic plant in Texas. The Dallas factory will employ about 300 workers with a priority in hiring visually impaired people. A local charity will help recruit the employees, though the exact organization and hiring process hasn’t been disclosed.
FutureStitch is a major player in the sustainability movement, and Shupe says the domestic plant will greatly reduce the company’s carbon footprint. As for its philanthropic motives, the CEO doesn’t see the new venture as a marketing strategy. “We know that both populations have high unemployment rates and we saw an opportunity to address communities that couldn’t find work elsewhere,” he said. “We hope that by offering them the right benefits, they’ll stay. And we hope other businesspeople will attempt to help them as well.”