Android, Focus: HOPE form partnership

Representatives from Focus: HOPE and Android Industries will discuss a unique partnership that will serve as a groundbreaking model for continued job placement and workforce development for Detroit residents. 

A team of workers — mostly Detroit residents — have been hired by Focus: HOPE for manufacturing positions at Android Industries. Most of these new employees were hired by Focus: HOPE to work on its Detroit campus where Android leases 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space for assembling headliners and front and rear suspension modules for the Chevrolet Volt. The parts are produced on demand and are delivered to the nearby GM Hamtramck plant for assembly.

In this unique partnership, Focus: HOPE conducts all screening and hiring of employees and leases them to Android for its Detroit operation. As demand for the Volt grows and with the introduction of the new Malibu, Android and Focus: HOPE anticipate 80 –100 additional new jobs in 2012, with more to follow in 2013.

Since its founding in 1968, Focus: HOPE has been committed to the future of the city of Detroit, said Jones. Its education and training programs have graduated nearly 11,000 talented men and women into careers — most of whom are people of color. In the early 1980s, Focus: HOPE broke the race and gender barriers in the machinist trades. Through its HOPE Village Initiative, the organization is working to revitalize the neighborhoods around its campus. By leasing space and employees to Android, it is providing employment opportunities to those living nearby – as well as to other Detroit area residents.


Android Industries CEO Jerry Elson said the ability to utilize Focus: HOPE to staff its needs, both now and in the future, is an efficient way to meet his company’s goals.

“I have been asked on numerous occasions, ‘Why is Android at Focus: HOPE?’ The answer is very simple: It is the right thing to do,” Elson said. “We’ve made a purposeful commitment to the city of Detroit to grow our business here and hire local employees. Focus: HOPE has a model that allows job training and neighborhood improvements to be the center of its efforts.”

This partnership signals that the City of Detroit and State of Michigan are indeed “open for business.” It also highlights the capabilities of Focus: HOPE to provide global companies with experienced skilled workers who are reliable and motivated. About 95 percent of students at Focus: HOPE are African American, and the vast majority are males. That is the demographic specifically identified by President Barack Obama during his September 8 speech to the nation that is experiencing historically high levels of unemployment. 

Over the last six years, 75 percent of those who complete a job training program with Focus: HOPE have gotten a job within 90 days of graduation, Jones said. “We are fundamentally changing the face of community and workforce development here in Detroit and we are seeking other businesses who want to be our partners,” Jones said.