"Taking CST Beyond CSR: The Call to Address Unemployment"

Mara Stolee '14

Information Technology Management Major and CST Minor

Advisor: Professor Bill Purcell

Mara Stolee

"Over the last century, great advances in intellectual and technological capital have allowed for millions of people to be lifted out of poverty. However, the development of these economic assets has been insufficient in carrying out Pope Paul VI’s call in Populorum Progressio for members of the Church to promote and ensure the complete development of every human person. As the national unemployment rate continues to fall and businesses across the US experience an increase in corporate profit, the market presents an opportunity for businesses to answer this call through targeted employment initiatives.

Catholic Social Tradition (CST) holds that the dignity of the human person must be maintained in all circumstances. In this way, business leaders have the opportunity and the duty to go beyond traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and promote the professional development of man as God’s most precious resource. This focus allows businesses to inherently create both social and economic value. Because the teachings of the church are based in tradition, all leaders must scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel. In the case of modern American business, this means aligning each company’s employment opportunities with the skills and resolution of the chronically unemployed.

My senior capstone aims to outline a business plan developed through the consultation of papal encyclicals paired with the analysis of key industry trends in order to ultimately design an entrepreneurial model for addressing the employment difficulties of reformed individuals with a history of incarceration. Conducting research in light of the CST principles of Solidarity and the Preferential Option for the Poor has allowed for the creation of an organic and progressive business model that aims to solve this complex problem by proposing a realistic IT solution, which pending further development, can be implemented in the coming years."