PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Ground Up PDX, a local company that makes nut butters, is on a mission to create life-changing jobs for women.

As part of the company’s job training program, the team works together to make Ground Up PDX flavors such as the classic “chunky almond, cashew and coconut nut butter,” while the rest of the team nearby makes up a small assembly line.

The program offers a chance for the women involved to help each other.

April, who is job training with Ground Up PDX, told KOIN 6 News there is “an immense amount of support because Lord, there is no way that I could have just jumped right back into entering back into work.”

This is April’s first job in a very long time. For the past 12 years, she was homeless.

The path to becoming who she is today includes help from shelters, as well as people who have been kind and patient.

“Well, that was still a challenging time because at that point it was actually trying to gain the security of actually being back, and that experience did bring incredibly large amounts of shame and doubt. Absolutely, I knew that I wanted to proceed,” April said.

Since Ground Up PDX started in 2016, Co-Founder Julie Loos has always had a mission to hire and help women look forward, no matter their past.

It is not an easy task, and as Loos explained, it takes a lot of effort.

“100 percent. A lot of patience, a lot of times and a lot of tough love too. You know, that’s a big piece for us is we want to meet each individual where they’re at, who joins our training program, but someone also has to meet us halfway and has to have that motivation to work,” Loos said.

Ground Up PDX tries to help them find success outside of their jobs, in ways that will help them for the rest of their lives.

“And you’re also going to learn about like handle your credit, handle your finances, you know, give you real solid support in the next step. You know, dream big. Just go ahead and we have this resource and now, during this time, feel free to go and pursue, exactly what it looks like you to be, financially independent, prepared,” April explained. “It’s done with such love, such intentional love and care.”

April is working toward becoming a published author.

You can find Ground Up PDX products at local stores, Portland State University’s farmers market and online.