Many Plastics Blog readers in the Detroit area, including those in the auto industry, knew Eleanor Josaitis. Josaitis died this morning of cancer at Angela Hospice in Livonia, Mich. She was 79. According to Crain's Detroit Business, Josaitis and the late Rev. William Cunningham founded Focus: HOPE in 1967, following the Detroit riots, to bridge the racial divide in Southeast Michigan. Focus: HOPE's training programs have been a regular part of the auto industry in Detroit for decades. Its graduates have gone on to work for both automakers and suppliers, including many in the plastics industry. According to Rhoda Miel, PN's staff reporter in Detroit, the job training program is part of a larger community outreach program in Detroit, and Josaitis was a regular feature at the University of Michigan Management Briefing Seminars, where she led selected students throughout the week. "They didn't just meet and greet," Rhoda said. "On days when many people were out on the golf course, the Focus: HOPE students could be found listening intently to panel discussions and taking notes. "Eleanor continually introduced students to executives as well as to us in the media so they could work on personal interaction skills, and she was always pleased to hear when they'd take the initiative on their own to introduce themselves, find out about you, discuss topics of concern to the industry and such," Rhoda said. Joe Wilssens, the freelance photographer who many know from his work shooting pictures for Plastics News events, asked me to honor Josaitis today -- and I can think of no better way than sharing this photo that Joe took in 2005, of Josaitis and a group of Focus: HOPE students at the Management Briefing Seminars. Check the links for more details on Josaitis, and enjoy Joe's terrific photo -- it really says it all.
Making a difference in Detroit: Eleanor Josaitis
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