Though the General Motors manufacturer shut its doors a few years ago, Shirley felt her background would be useful in launching her own medical staffing agency.
She was right.
Today, the Jackson native is founding president and CEO for Therapy Staffing Solutions, a company that recruits healthcare professionals and places them in permanent or temporary positions, saving medical facilities thousands of dollars in administrative costs.
Shirley also serves as assistant director of New Focus for Youth Intervention, an after-school enrichment program for at-risk teenagers.
“I help students with their homework and identify fun activities for them to become involved,” she said. “We also coordinate speakers to come speak to our students about real life issues such as peer pressure and monitor the students’ academic performance to assess the program’s success.”
As a former engineer, Shirley’s vast experience in designing and building robots has helped contribute to the community in other ways. She volunteered as a mentor for the past seven years with two different Jackson-area high schools in a FIRST Robotics program. In fact, her Provine High robotics team won a national championship and the competition’s Chairman’s Award.
Starting her own business was a risk, Shirley admits, but one she was comfortable taking.
“The main reason I started Therapy Staffing was to offer healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics the opportunity to be flexible with their employment needs,” Shirley said. “For me, it was a huge leap of faith because there is no guarantee of a pay check. But helping others find work is so rewarding.”
D’Andra Orey, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Shirley and is now a professor at Jackson State University, says her friend’s community spirit doesn’t end with her work with New Focus for Youth Intervention.
An active member of the Greater Pearlie Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Shirley also contributes her time and talents to community projects with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s alumnae chapter in Clinton, Bolton and several Hinds County communities.
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