March 9th marked the one-year anniversary of Shoreline Staffing making a difference in the Muskegon community, but Owner William Roberson, also from the community, has been helping keep people employed even before the birth of Shoreline Staffing. Coming from a family, particularly a grandmother and mother, who always helped people, that giving and helpful spirit rubbed off on Roberson as well.
“Giving back has always been in me,” Roberson says, describing how his grandmother would give food to those who were hungry, even when they may not have had much. A case worker for the State of Michigan for 12 years, starting off working in the Grand Rapids area, then eventually in Muskegon, Roberson has unofficially “staffed” people, recommending those needing work when contacted about job openings. He did this for about four or five years before the seed was planted to start Shoreline Staffing after a year of researching to figure out what he needed to get started.
Roberson admits that fear played a part in delaying him in moving forward with his plan for starting the agency because of the comfortable position he was in working for the State of Michigan, but after getting overlooked for promotions a few too many times, and with the opportunity to move forward to get started, it became an urgent matter. But just as soon as Shoreline Staffing came to be, another moment of fear and panic set in when the COVID-19 pandemic hit days later and shut the agency down.
With a wife and family to consider, Roberson questioned if all of this was God telling him it wasn’t the right time or if this was a bad decision, but the shut down for the agency was only from March through late May. By June, Shoreline Staffing signed their first contract, achieving 1.3M in billable hours. Removing obstacles, though, has always been a focus of Roberson’s, which makes Shoreline Staffing different.
Roberson shared how a friend in human resources was the one who took him back to the drawing board in working on his plan for the agency to determine what would make Shoreline Staffing different from other staffing agencies that had been around longer. Using his knowledge as a case worker, Roberson focused on, “Transportation and daycare—two of the largest obstacles preventing people from going to work.” In removing these obstacles, Roberson offered free transportation initially, but now pays 50% of the costs for transportation to work anywhere in Muskegon County. In addition, Shoreline Staffing covers 30% of daycare fees, as well as remove the standard hiring fees that all agencies charge.
Another difference is the relatability and community connection. Roberson, a graduate of Whitehall High School, with a diverse background of expertise, from spending six years in the Air Force to working in the manufacturing industry, has the skillset and hands-on experience of what it is like working in positions that he staffs others in. In addition, and the biggest difference, is the love and feel of community throughout the agency. “We are from the community; everyone that works from the office is from the community,” Roberson said, adding that there are four employees in-house with continued growth as the agency prospers moving further into 2021.
Demonstrating his love for the community, Roberson helps in keeping people employed and earning money, so they do not have to turn to the streets. “We understand the correlation between crime and lack of opportunities, so essentially we are fighting crime by giving people jobs and opportunities.”
Shoreline Staffing covers staffing for all types of jobs and industries in Muskegon County, with plans to expand and branch out to the Grand Haven and Grand Rapids communities. In addition, there are plans for a separate entity, Shoreline Medical, for further staffing needs in a booming industry.
Roberson will be a speaker at the upcoming 1st Annual Black Business Expo 2021 in Muskegon on June 19, 2021. For more information about Shoreline Staffing: visit http://ShorelineStaffing.com/; call 231-375-5619; email firstname.lastname@example.org