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Dec. 3rd – Luncheon Notes & Photos

Luncheon Notes by Mark Johnson

President Derek Aten kicked-off the meeting with a loud bell. The room was filled with the buzz of inspirational Interact students from Catholic Central – it was a great day to be at Rotary. Paula Vilches, who is currently a Youth Exchange Student from Cabildo, Chile, gave an excellent overview of her time so far in the U.S.A. She is currently staying with the Dubey family. Jackie Taylor introduced our distinguished guest speaker, Mindy Ysasi-Castanon.

Mindy is currently the Executive Director for The Source. She has been there for nine months after previously working for Cascade Engineering in Human Resources. It was very fitting to have her as the speaker since she was also a graduate of Catholic Central.

The Source began in 2003 as a collaborative effort between eight company Chief Executive Officers. The member companies had approximately 2,000 employees. The problem they were trying to solve was that really good employees were leaving the area. Mindy outlined how the original focus of The Source was retention.

Through their research, The Source identified the primary issues for working parents. Namely, childcare, housing, and transportation. The Source is a non-profit organization that seeks to offer value through partnership. They do not provide any direct services but rather help collaborate and connect employees with existing services that are available.

Mindy explained that The Source now has fifteen member companies representing 4,000 employees. The goal has moved from just focusing on “retention” to now focusing on “progression”. Mindy provided data that showed 90% of the 35,000 open jobs in West Michigan last year required some form of education or specialized training.

To Mindy, “progression” meant that they could help employees get from $8-11/hr jobs to $15-25/hr careers over time through training and access to services. The Source has provided an impressive 200% ROI annually to the member companies in terms of retention and skill development. Ninety-seven percent of the employees in the program have remained employed.

In conclusion, Mindy thanked the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids for the invitation to speak. She received a clean water filter as a gift for her coming. The meeting was adjourned by President Aten.

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