Sometimes, our biggest need is concrete and definite – we need employment so we can earn a living and provide food, shelter and clothing for those who depend on us. Sometimes, that need is more spiritual – we need a chance to start over, a way to find hope and meaning and identity in our lives.
With 323 Staffing Solutions in Owensboro, Sam Nocita aims to meet both kinds of needs.
323 Staffing is an employment agency focused on the simple vision of meeting people’s spiritual needs by bringing them closer to God through Christ, and meeting their physical needs by helping them find a job. The company takes its name from Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever your hands find to do, do it for the Lord, not man.”
Nocita works with local industries to provide them with temporary to full-time employees. His pitch to companies is that by working with 323 Staffing, they’re not just finding employees; they’re helping the city of Owensboro by investing their dollars in local residents and in 323 Staffing. Because 323 Staffing is locally owned and not a national franchise, any fees paid to them stay right here in Owensboro. “They (companies) have a great opportunity to impact their own city,” Nocita said.
323 Staffing also shoulders the risk of the employees – they pay for liability insurance and workman’s compensation. “The risk (to companies) is minimal to none,” Nocita said. His employee pool includes both highly technical, skilled labor and those looking for entry-level positions.
Applicants through 323 Staffing go through a battery of tests, including an initial application, a skills test, a personality test, a drug test and a background search. While some may have a checkered past, Nocita says the key quality is attitude: “I want to work with people who want to work,” he said. “People getting their lives on track may be willing to work harder and be more enthusiastic.”
Nocita loves working with individuals looking for a clean start, those with broken lives and a difficult past who are desperately seeking that second and third chance.
Each appointment starts with Nocita simply listening. Everyone has a story, and Nocita will take the time to hear it. He’s in the hope business as much as the job business, and clients appreciate his genuine service. They tell him about their background, their family – anything that’s on their minds.
His goal is to mirror Christ, who not only fed 5,000 people (physical needs) but wanted to restore them to God (spiritual needs) as well. “We’re trying to reflect Him in the business world,” he said.
While Nocita works to get more employers signed up, he’s also building partnerships with local churches, which “have a good pulse of people who need work” and will send those applicants to him. If the employees work out, Nocita will reinvest some of the funds back into the church as part of the ministry side of the business.
For 2015, Nocita is planning for 323 Staffing to host two life skills seminars that will help individuals with skills such as building a resume, interviewing for a job and more.
Nocita moved to Owensboro from Nebraska to work in ministry at Heritage Baptist Church and for employment purposes. In his previous job with a large company, he dealt with many human resource areas, including hiring, firing and managing staffing issues. He saw a chance to combine those skills with his ministry goals, and 323 Staffing was born.
Nocita began with research on the specifics of setting up a staffing company, and then started marketing with cold calls, fliers, letters, a new website and Facebook page, and more. He also joined the American Staffing Association, a professional group that keeps members up-to-date with the latest in the employment field while providing a bank of experience and advice for members.
Nocita knows 323 Staffing will never make the Fortune 500 list, but that’s not his goal. “There’s no greater joy than getting them (clients) to work,” he said. “We get to talk, pray and laugh and get them a job. It’s thrilling and exciting.”
“There’s been an amazing response. It’s what I would have hoped for,” he said. “It feels like relationships and not just business.”