RGF Connect celebrates its first anniversary

Twelve months ago, RGF Staffing launched an ambitious social program to help underserved people around the world access education, training and employment: RGF Connect. One year later, it’s evident that it really is possible to make the world more inclusive: 'building bridges and breaking barriers for people around the world'. Once a dream, and now fast becoming reality.

RGF Connect

“I am proud that within just 1 year of launching RGF Connect, we have been able to instigate so much meaningful change in local communities around the world,” says Yvonne Mastenbroek, Chief Sustainability Officer RGF Staffing. “Our enthusiastic ‘RGF Connectors’ have made a tremendous effort, along with many colleagues and others involved in local social programs. I extend my congratulations to you all! How powerful you are, working day in, day out to promote diversity and inclusiveness.”


A big hand for all RGF Connectors!

The RGF Connectors of RGF Staffing’s various operating companies are the drivers of the great success of the local RGF Connect initiatives with their determination, perseverance and especially their contagious enthusiasm. They are therefore also at the root of the program’s global success.


We asked our RGF Connectors and the CEOs of our operating companies what stands out most for them when looking back on one year of RGF Connect. And we are delighted to share their reflections.



CSI Companies, USA:
“It all started here”

RGF Connect - USA

“At CSI Companies, a big part of our culture is ‘giving back to the community’. A few years ago, we launched CSI Connect, which has now become a global initiative: RGF Connect. We couldn’t be prouder,” says Chris Flakus (CEO CSI Companies). His appreciation especially goes to RGF Connector Dominique Carter, who is the Internship Manager of the program. This initiative exposes students in underserved Jacksonville communities to technology careers, professional training, and life-changing opportunities. “I’m touched when I witness the professional growth and journeys of interns that have joined us as timid students, we recruited at career fairs. They have blossomed into full-time CSI employees.” Dominique explains: “During the interview process for the upcoming summer cohort, we interviewed a student who said he specifically applied for our program because he ‘saw people that looked like him and he felt empowered to apply to our program to start his IT career’. For me, that was the ultimate confirmation that the work we are doing is changing our communities.”


RGF Staffing Belgium:
“We are thankful we got this opportunity”

RGF Connect - Belgium

RGF Connect – HEAR2WORK is our project to support people with a hearing impairment to find the right job. Our teams were able to guide several candidates to job opportunities together with our clients. I’m confident that, in the future too, we can create significant value in society with our RGF Connect projects,” says Katty Scheerlinck (CEO RGF Staffing Belgium). For the Belgian RGF Connectors Ellen Bral and Michael Vercauteren, the unity and collaboration within the project team truly stands out: “With colleagues from our brands, with clients and participants, we can achieve great things. Many of our clients are supportive of the RGF Connect initiative. They do acknowledge that it requires some adjustments in the beginning. But ultimately, they see the opportunities of employing people with hearing impairments, and not the constraints. We are thankful we were given this opportunity to work on such a great project.”


Recruit Staffing, Japan:
“Proud to help students with disabilities to build careers”

RGF Connect - Japan

“I’m proud we have been helping many students with disabilities to prepare and build their careers. Our RGF Connect initiative was introduced to more than 300 special needs schools within one year,” explains Tomomi Tanaka (CEO Recruit Staffing). “We have received positive feedback from many students. We are very pleased we are able to provide students with opportunities to think about their careers and increase their future options.” Yoshiaki Taguchi and Fumi Ishizaka, Recruit Staffing’s RGF Connectors, are touched by some special stories of program participants: “A student who required a very high level of assistance (bedridden and difficulty speaking) actively participated in our online work experience session through the use of electronic devices. Seeing him believe in his potential and trying his best to communicate of his own accord is tremendously motivating, as this will contribute to his career development. RGF Connect made us realize once again that there are still many young people who want to work but are not yet able to do so. Let’s continue to contribute to the potential of as many students with disabilities as possible.”


RGF Staffing the Netherlands:
“Our youth program is hugely relevant”

RGF Connect - The Netherlands

“Our global RGF Connect program is an important aspect of our goals to offer ‘opportunities for all’ within our society,” Fleur Klijnsmit (CEO RGF Staffing the Netherlands) emphasizes. “All of the Dutch participants found employment after participating in our local program. We are now ready to scale up our RGF Connect – GOALS program and several municipalities have already shown interest. Through the passion of our colleagues, we can grow this program and make an even greater impact.” The Dutch program is guiding young talent who experience barriers, whether they are struggling to find work or lack equal access to educational opportunities. RGF Connector Jannette van Blitterswijk is especially inspired by participant Justice's story: “He was tremendously motivated, but really didn't know where to start. He was always the first to attend, participated very actively in the program and never dropped out. He experienced an astonishing personal development. He now has a job and has enrolled in a training program. We are still in touch with Justice and we are very proud of him! We have noted that our youth program is hugely relevant to the current Dutch labor market. What we have learned is that the program must be tailored to the target group in each region. There is a significant difference in composition and issues. With the great foundation that is now in place, we are also able to adapt the program accordingly.”


RGF Staffing ANZ, Australia:
“Life changing employment for women”

RGF Connect - Australia

“Throughout the first year of RGF Connect, we have helped over 200 women into work and had great feedback from numerous diverse participants who we helped into employment. We have had great feedback from our participants and from the business as a whole. We are looking forward to the next 12 months and to what we can achieve during that period. Congratulations to the RGF Connect program!” says Brent Leahy (CEO RGF Staffing ANZ). RGF Connectors Cynthia Andrews and Amanda Koloski are passionate about delivering the programs. “Truly changing lives is at the core of everything we do, and this continues to grow through new funding grants. We are now in a position to help women who face barriers to employment on a national level, and this expansion will continue to drive our initiatives.” When asked which particular story had a lasting impression on her, Cynthia answers: “One woman who had migrated to Australia had never been able to secure employment, even though she had applied for hundreds of vacancies. Through the RGF Connect program, she was able to secure sustainable employment whilst being a single mother to 5 children. Our clients are thrilled with the programs and our local operations teams are fully involved. A great example of this was at the graduation ceremony of a group at the Sydney office. All staff attended and enjoyed having the opportunity to chat to the participants, hear their stories and see first-hand how employment has changed the lives of these women.”


RGF Staffing Germany:
“Help a lot of people to not grow old”

RGF Connect -Germany

“There is a saying that growing old is no more than a bad habit. Let’s keep up the good work and help a lot of people not grow old through our project RGF Connect – Unique Seniors. Let’s help elderly people to remain fresh and young.” Philipp Geyer (CEO RGF Staffing Germany) is seeing the enormous positive impact of the RGF Connect program in Germany, which aims to help retirees to re-enter the workforce.  For a considerable group of elderly people, the added income is not a luxury. Preventing loneliness is another goal of the program. German RGF Connectors Tobias Bell and Michael Oelrichs reveal one of the secrets of the program’s success: “By employing senior people as contact persons in our branches, we experience how important it is to have a contact person on the front line – especially for ‘marginalized’ groups. This removes any tension the seniors may experience: they become more talkative and gain confidence because their counterpart understands their feelings. We also receive great feedback from our customers. One client even said that he now wants to strengthen their team primarily with our senior candidates. He is impressed by their loyalty, reliability and mindset. Some of our clients are also grateful, as we give them the opportunity to continue employing senior staff from their own company. Our final goal is to reach the point where seniors are fully accepted in the labor market. Not only in Germany, but globally too.”


Staffmark Group, USA:
“Giving a chance for a brighter future”

RGF Connect - USA

“Every job we provide is more than just a paycheck. It’s a lifeline.” Stacey Lane, CEO Staffmark Group, emphasizes the importance of dismantling the barriers that the U.S. workforce has put up against second chance hiring of Americans with criminal records. “It’s about giving people direction, purpose, and a chance for a brighter future. It really is about changing lives.” At Staffmark Group, RGF Connectors Julie Litteral, Rachel Stevens and Ashley Oliver are happy that their RGF Connect program has demonstrated its effectiveness within the recruitment industry. “Our collaborative efforts can lead to substantial societal and economic benefits. Research indicates that individuals with past convictions are no more likely to be terminated from a position than those without such backgrounds. As support for this program grows, so too will its positive impact on our society and economy. We have received significant support from our colleagues who have become familiar with the RGF Connect program. Colleagues from various regions have shown interest in implementing the program locally, with some even volunteering to join a newly established Business Resource Group. This group is dedicated to further developing and promoting RGF Connect and advocating for fair chance hiring practices.”


Staff Service Group, Japan:
“A bright light of hope in society”

RGF Connect - Japan

“Ultimately, we are helping children get a better life through our training and job initiatives for single mothers. Therefore, I think these are very meaningful initiatives, for society and for the future,” says Koji Sakamoto, CEO Staff Service Group. RGF Connectors Yuya Nakamura and Futa Kanda are impressed by how forward-looking and motivated all the participants are in their approach to improving their skills and increasing their income. “A large number of participants felt that it was great to learn from, and exchange information with, other single mothers. In this environment, with a high level of psychological safety, they were able to grow whilst energizing one another. It’s impressive to witness single mothers desperately working hard, studying side-by-side with their children, even considering additional work to fund their children's education. You can feel a mother's love through how seriously they considered their children's future and how they tried to support them in every way, even at the expense of themselves. One of the participants said that she wanted to show her child, who was not attending school, that she was doing her best and looking ahead. Such a dedicated attitude is heartwarming. RGF Connect is a wonderful program. It’s a meaningful initiative that not only provides opportunities for skills improvement, but also allows participants to build connections with peers in the same position. We would like to continue this initiative far into the future, so that RGF Connect can be a bright light of hope in society. We aspire to create a better society by working together.”


RGF Connect will be adapted for France and the UK!

Now that we are one year into the RGF Connect program, we are extremely happy and proud that both RGF Staffing France and RGF Staffing UK will also participate in RGF Connect from now on,” stresses Yvonne Mastenbroek (Chief Sustainability Officer RGF Staffing Global).

In France the program is called ‘100 Opportunities 100 Chances’. Manon Gussy and Mathilde de Montalier, the French RGF Connectors, are proud of building bridges and breaking down stereotypes that help connect people together. “The tagline of our program is: ‘the network for those who don’t have one’. Our clients find our program innovative. As they increasingly need to pay attention to inclusion and diversity, we can help them to meet their objectives.”

RGF Staffing UK has also embraced RGF Connect, and will soon launch a local social program in the UK. The RGF Connectors Jamie Smith and Jane Brown are enthusiastic: “We are excited about the launch of RGF Connect in the UK. Our RGF Connect program aims to help people who face challenges in finding employment. We are proud to support this initiative that aims to bridge the gap for those who face barriers to entering the job market.”


Yvonne Mastenbroek - RGF Staffing“To all who have given their support, their time and their dedication to RGF Connect: thank you so much! And congratulations on this wonderful first anniversary!”