Oklahoma City (PRWEB) April 16, 2014 - As the American economy continues to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, Express Employment Professionals, the nation's largest privately held staffing firm, will release on April 16 a book entitled "Portraits of Hope," a collection of 42 stories of people who have overcome great obstacles to succeed in America. The book was authored and published to mark the company's 30th anniversary.
It includes stories of people seizing opportunities in the American economy to build a better life. Some were helped by friends and neighbors; others were guided by faith and determination. In each of their lives, they persevered in their struggles and were able to pick themselves up, find work and create new lives full of opportunity and hope.
The book will be released in conjunction with the Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast, an annual event put on by Express that will connect more than 10,000 members of the business community nationwide.
Some of the individuals featured in "Portraits of Hope" include:
Born with cerebral palsy into a society that offered few opportunities for quadriplegics like her, Janice Andrick found hope in the support and therapy provided by the Capper Foundation for Crippled Children in Topeka, Kansas. There she also found her first job. The 1990s brought the Americans with Disabilities Act and new technologies that made it possible for Janice to do a wider range of work. Through Express, she found a position doing clerical work with the State of Kansas Department of Disability Services. She used a tool called a head stick to operate her computer and a communication board to speak about her ideas. With the aid of these technologies, Janice finally found the inclusion she had sought for so long—and could feel like "just one of the gang."
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Garret Fairbanks lost his job during the Great Recession. He found himself homeless, carrying a bag on his back and selling aluminum scrap just to put money in his pocket. He tried his hand at odd jobs, bouncing from place to place, but it wasn't enough to support himself. He was "pretty much on the streets," he says. After finding a church program that offered a place to sleep, Garrett found Express, and within a week of filling out an application, he was hired as a machinist. Today he's proud to be financially stable and living in his own apartment. In 2012 he was recognized by Express as the Wisconsin Employee of the Year.
Born and raised in New Delhi, Inder Narang graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in India, but the only work he could find paid little, and there was no room for advancement. So he followed his brother to the United States. His hopes were dashed when he discovered through his own job search that he didn't have the experience for the engineering jobs he applied for, so he took job as a department store sales associate. After moving to L.A., he found an engineering job through Express — one that he likes and one that pays the bills. "I feel fortunate to be here," he says.
Tina Padilla, was working at a local bank as a mail room manager when she lost her job after the bank was sold and moved out of town. Thanks to Express, she found another job, worked her way up to office manager, only to lose that job in the bad economy. "I thought I was too old to try to go out and find a job, so I went on unemployment for a while, but I just couldn't live that way. It wasn't how I was raised." So Tina went back to Express, which found her a job at a local mill for almost a year. Since then, she's taken on other temporary jobs, but now says she is officially retired. Nevertheless, if she does decide she wants to work every now and then, she knows she can depend on Express. "Even in rough times, Express will get you working," she tells others.
After attending college, Renee Rodriguez was working in an internship when she met the owner of the local Express office in Pueblo, Colo. When the internship ended, she went to Express in hopes of finding a temporary job. Owners Bill and Dionne Casey had a different idea: they offered Renee a job in the Express office. Just five years later, they asked if she would like to be made a partner. After changes in ownership, she became majority partner of the office with Eric Carson — who joined her as her partner in life and in business. Today, they own the Pueblo and Centennial, Colo., offices — and it's all the result of a chance meeting with Express.
Helen Simmons' custom painting business fell victim to the Great Recession. After losing her business, she lost her home, and had no way to cover her basic living expenses. That's when she decided to turn to Express for help. "Within a few days they found me a job," she says. Since then, she's taken on a range of temporary positions from working as a receptionist at a local firehouse to organizing a dinner and auction for a local nonprofit. Of her local Express office, she says, "They make a point of knowing who you are and letting you know they care about you."
"Read these stories and you understand why we do what we do," said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "Finding people a job so often means giving people hope and a chance at a better future. I've seen it over and over: a life can be drastically changed by just one job.
"We feel privileged at Express to have a played even a small part in the lives of these remarkable individuals, whose determination to succeed allowed them to overcome tremendous challenges and to make it in America. I'm inspired by them, and I'm sure they'll inspire others."
Robert A. "Bob" Funk is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 675 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.5 billion in temporary sales and employed nearly 400,000 people in 2013, and ranks as the largest privately held staffing agency in the United States. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually.
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