A driving motivation behind the association’s creation was to provide the industry with a strong national voice and to educate policy makers at all levels regarding the unique attributes of the staffing business—which had to be understood lest their well-intentioned proposals impeded the ability of staffing agencies to serve their clients’ and employees’ vital needs.
The fledgling association’s first mission was to meet with the U.S. Department of Labor concerning regulations proposed by the former U.S. Employment Service (now the Employment and Training Administration). An important USES mission was to help state employment services provide job-finding assistance to job seekers and employers—functions that sometimes unfairly encroached on private-sector staffing agencies, which did not enjoy the tax-exempt status of their public counterparts.
Thus began ASA’s role of advocating on behalf of the industry at the federal level. The association went on to also establish an advocacy role at the state and local level, aided by its network of affiliated chapters, addressing hundreds of proposed laws and regulations around the country each year.
Soon after its founding, to attract members the association began offering valuable services, holding its first networking and education convention in 1967, followed by industry publications including a magazine and newsletter—all of which have grown in scale and sophistication. Public recognition also grew. In 1985, Congress passed a joint resolution establishing “National Temporary Help Services Week.” In 2003, ASA enhanced its leadership role in promoting legal compliance by introducing the first of four professional certification programs. In 2016, the association celebrated 50 years of service.
While the association’s name has changed over the years to reflect changes in the scope and sophistication of its members’ services—National Association of Temporary Services (1970), National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (1994); American Staffing Association (1999)—its founding commitment to serving the industry and the people it employs remains the same.
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