Cheryl Sanford

  • Employment Services

Terria King was referred to the Michigan Works Highland Park Service Center in June 2013 for assistance in finding a better paying job. Terria was working for a local fast food restaurant earning $7.40 per hour. Even though she was grateful to have a job, earning minimum wage with no benefits made it difficult for Terria to support herself and her mother. Fast food jobs and other low paying jobs offered a quick source of income but little opportunity for growth and advancement. Terria was attending Oakland Community College, majoring in criminal justice, in an effort to improve her career opportunities but had to put school on hold and concentrate on working.

A neighbor referred her to the Michigan Works! Highland Park Service Center for assistance with her job search and career counseling. The Highland Park location is one of several service centers in Wayne County operated by the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA). Michigan HRDI is the contractor responsible administering the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program in the Highland Park Office which serves employers and job seekers. Michigan HRDI has implemented a success business services model that accommodates large scale hiring projects for manufacturers. Integrated Manufacturing and Assembly (IMA) is one of the manufacturing companies currently working with Michigan HRDI to recruit and screen hundreds of new employees for an expansion project that includes locations in Highland Park and Detroit.

Terria applied for the production associated position with IMA even though she did not have an extensive work history in manufacturing. “I was concerned that Terria’s lack of manufacturing experience would be a barrier for her but I was also impressed by her determination to make a better life for herself,” said Cheryl Sanford, Regional Manager for Michigan HRDI. Poor attendance has been a real issue for IMA as it is for most employers and Cheryl had a concern about Terria’s lack of transportation. She did not have a valid driver’s license because of tickets and driver’s responsibilities fees. Terria relied on family and friends for rides to and from work and insisted, that she really needed this opportunity and could get to work every day, on time. “She told me that $10.00 might not be a lot of money to some people, but it was a lot of money for her. Again, I was impressed by her determination,” said Cheryl.

Terria started working at IMA on July 29, 2013, and has not missed a day of work. She has paid off over $3,000 in tickets and driver’s responsibility fees and has purchased a car. According to IMA HR Manager, Eddie Jackson, “Terria is the kind of employee we want to hire. We are willing to make the investment in training people who want to work.” He also pointed out that IMA offers tuition reimbursement and strongly encourages employees to take advantage of the benefit. “We want to retain good employees who will acquire new skills and grow with the company.” Terria definitely plans to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement benefit to continue her education but wants to focus on advanced manufacturing instead of criminal justice. Her supervisor, Raymond Frank, said “I hope Terria will pursue a career in manufacturing. She’s a fast learner and has a real enthusiasm for her work. It has been a pleasure to train her.”