Statement of Lisa Hudson, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Hearing on Welfare Reform Success

April 2, 2002

Before starting at Cascade Engineering I had all sorts of jobs that I worked at for maybe 3 months here and there. I had to quit these jobs due to family problems such as transportation, child care, etc. In 8/99 I applied for assistance with FIA and had to report to the work first program. This is where I came in through the Welfare to Work Program by meeting Ron Jimmerson from Cascade Engineering at the Work First Office. Cascade Engineering hired me at a 2nd shift job although I did need 1st.  Second shift ended up working out for me and it was because of the many programs at Cascade Engineering and Family Independence Agency's support. One of the examples was the transportation provided to me to get to work.

I wasn't sure how I felt at first. I was nervous and I have never really worked at a factory job. I figured I would save enough money to purchase a car and try other employment later. Cascade Engineering's logo is a Company of Families. I felt right away that I was a part of this family. The people are not just human resource of supervisors, they are my friends and family. Cascade Engineering offers "Pay for Contribution" which completing different levels, learning more skills and making more money which I have accomplished. I started out at $8.50 per hour. I am now at Level B making $11.35 per hour. Effective 4/5/02 I will be at Level C making $13.35 per hour and have met with Joyce Bosscher my FIA caseworker who has arranged a meeting with my Human Resource representative at Cascade Engineering to work on advancing my career at Cascade Engineering working in the Human Resource Department.

The Family Independence Agency caseworkers, Joyce Bosscher and Gary Loew are onsite at Cascade Engineering. Before I had my caseworker onsite at Cascade Engineering I did not have a caseworker that I really thought cared about me and the issues I was dealing with. During my employment at Cascade Engineering I have faced many serious family issues that I previously had to deal with on my own while trying to maintain a job which I could not do. With the help of the Family Independence Agency on site I have made these accomplishments happen. I have four children. Childcare is not the problem because I do have daycare assistance. It is the two teenagers that I am having difficulties with being a single parent. I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing if it weren't for Joyce directing me in the right direction for counseling for my teenagers and myself which has helped me continue at my job. I have counseling set up once a week that was set up through FIA. I also have had assistance from Joyce with car repairs, money management classes, Section 8 and am presently participating in the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program so I may provide a better home and stability for my family. My supervisors and other Cascade Engineering representatives have been blessings in my life. Cascade Engineering is truly a Company of Families and FIA has provided the resources and the continued caring for my children and myself.

I truly feel that through all these accomplishments I have become a good role model for my children which will help them in their future as they become adults.