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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

I explore how trauma becomes interwoven into the daily operations and the institutional mission of Baker Industries, a workforce development nonprofit in southeastern Pennsylvania which employs hard-to-employ adults. In a society short on empathy and structural support for some of the most vulnerable populations, Baker Industries offers full-time employment as well as life-skills training and support for adults with physical and cognitive disabilities, mental illnesses, substance abuse issues, criminal records, and home insecurity. Assumed among every participant, trauma becomes a resource for recognition and economic security. I illustrate how trauma saturates the institutional and routine practices of staff and participants, a fact essential to the foundation and reputation of the organization itself.

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