People Helping People Make BusinessWeek’s List

What a neat company this is. Providence Service Corporation (NASDAQ/PRSC) is a small-cap company that’s in the business of helping people. The company listed on the NASDAQ in September 2003, and, slowly but surely, its stock has been ticking higher on the stock market.

This company provides home and community based social services to government sponsored clients under programs like welfare, juvenile justice, Medicaid, and corrections. The company’s counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals work with people in need who are eligible for government assistance due to low income levels, emotional/educational disabilities, or because of court orders as a result of trouble with the law.

In most cases, the state and local government agencies that fund the company’s social services are required by law to provide counseling, case management, foster care, and other support services to eligible individuals and families. In Providence’s case, the company doesn’t operate any beds, treatment facilities, or group homes, but provides its counseling services right in client homes or at community centers.

So far, the company has about 312 government contracts in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The company was recently ranked 47th on BusinessWeek’s annual list of top “100 Hot Growth Companies.”

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In many ways, this company is a kind of consolidator in the social service industry, buying up smaller counseling companies as the opportunity arises. With a steady flow of government sponsored contracts, it’s no wonder this stock is doing well on the stock market.

It really is nice to come across a company that’s in the business of helping people. In a lackluster stock market environment, a company with a steady customer base and even cash flow is likely to be on the radar screen of institutional investors. Regardless, you have to give credit to those who, day in and day out, are trying to change people’s lives for the better.