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From PhDs To Dropouts, She Has Found Them Jobs

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From PhDs To Dropouts, She Has Found Them Jobs

By Aretha Jackson

(News Staff Reporter)

Mrs. Johnnie Mae Baylis of 611 Spring St. has been a vocational and job counselor for the Community Skills Agency of Model Cities for one year. And in that year she has found jobs for approximately 300 people in and around Ann Arbor.

From the possessor of the PhD, down to the semiilliterate elementary school dropout, she has placed them all at one time or another during that year.

Personable, feminine and soft-voiced, she is a living example of the tired clique, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. ’ “I have a very good working relationship with many of the companies in town, and they remember me when they have job openings,” commented Mrs. Baylis.

A life-long resident of Ann Arbor, she has four children and five grandchildren, all of Ann Arbor. She was graduated from the old Ann Arbor High School in 1935, attended business administration school at the University of Michigan for one year and worked as a clerk at University Hospital for 18 years.

While working as a secretary-receptionist for Dr. John Shelton she decided she wanted to be a nurse, so she enrolled at the Ann Arbor Practical Nurse Education Center. She worked as a licensed practical nurse at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital until 1971, when she went to work for Model Cities.

“My job here is to counsel people and help them find jobs. Some of the applicants are very skilled and others need help filling out the applications. Some applicants need supportive services, they need to be called and reminded when they are supposed to be on a job.”

According to Mrs. Baylis, once she enters her office she doesn’t leave before 4:30 p.m., unless it is absolutely necessary. "I work eight hours at the office and four hours at home. If there’s a certain company or person I can’t reach during the day, I don’t stop trying just because it’s time to close up,” said Mrs Baylis.

Approximately 15 to 20 people pass through her office at 211 1/2 N. Fourth Ave. each day. “I have gotten calls from high school counselors who want me to place kids, and I have been called by the House of Correction in Milan to find jobs for people who are being released.”

She finds most of her jobs by calling the plants and businesses in this area. “I tell them what the situation is and let them know what people I have available. I try to match the jobs to the individuals so people will be happy with their work.

“The follow-ups on people I have placed have been very good. However, I have had some bad experiences with the banks, and Chrysler. Twenty-seven people have been laid off by Chrysler just before they reached the 90-day mark which would have made them permanent employes. I have not had this problem with the other plants.

And at the banks I have found that the people I place do not seem to be promoted like the regular employees.

“With the exception of the Chrysler layoff, all the others have kept their jobs, and I have had employers call and thank me for sending the people over.”

According to Mrs. Baylis, the hardest problem is finding jobs for youth in the 13 to 17-year-old age group. “The NYC program is good, but it does not involve enough people. Kids need jobs to buy

things their parents can’t give them—there would be less stealing if there were adequate jobs.”

Other than jobs, Mrs. Baylis also helps with food and housing. Although the Model Cities area is the first priority, the services at the Community Skills center are also available to persons in need from all areas.

Mrs. Baylis At Work In Her Office