LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — It is all gained confidence you see in 22-year-old Cortez Caldwell as he walks through a department in Roush Performance Automotive Company that he gets to participate in.
“What does this job make you feel like? WXYZ's Glenda Lewis asked.
“I feel so, so happy, that I am so proud,” Caldwell responded.
Nearby, 19-year-old Ryan Patrick has the same pride and appreciation that comes from learning job skills and being independent.
“I mostly do vinyl and use this tool and carefully take out the R and the O's and I peel off the whole thing and it's done,” Patrick said. “This job requires a lot of patience and skill. At first, I wasn't really that great. Throughout the weeks, I've just increased, I've became better.”
That growth is the goal of the bond between Roush and the students of Western Wayne Skill Center.
The automotive company opened its doors to Amy Munday's students to help her help them gain skills and real-world experience they need to be independent adults.
“The relationship that Roush and the workers have established with our students has been so meaningful. From Javon in the warehouse, Tyler in the tire department, they have really taken our students under their wings and made meaningful bonds,” Munday said.
When we first met Munday, she was making a pivot in the pandemic so that her cognitively impaired students could continue getting the job skills and hands-on learning they need.
After seeing our first story, Roush reached out to Munday and opened its doors, allowing her students to come in and get a feel for the job.
“So, when Bob and Amy came to us and kind of described the program and how the goal would be to provide some independence for the students, meaningful opportunities, it was something that we really wanted to get involved in and excited about," said Julia Fannon, Roush Trim and Graphics manager.
“They're operating in roles that help our business become successful on a day-to-day basis and yeah, they are really making meaningful contributions to the organization,” Fannon continued.
And their hard work is paying off.
“Within just a few months, Roush came to us and said we have two students we'd like to give full time positions to, Cortez and another student. This is their second full-time employment ..." Munday said. "They are amazing people. I'm honored to be able to share our people with Roush. They've really brought joy. It's a great work environment.”