Granola and Generosity Make Good Partners

Granola and Generosity Make Good Partners

Michele's Granola in Timonium has 41 employees, all of whom are appreciated for their skills and productivity. Among them are Daylan and Anthony (Tony), graduates of our Project SEARCH intern-to-work program. Michele's is a new partner with The Arc but not new to the area. When it was formed 10 years ago, the company committed to hand-made small batches of crunchy creations that are individually packed and shipped by the team. The commitment worked, and products arrive all over the world fresh from Michele's ovens.

Community service, local fresh ingredients whenever possible, and creative respect for the environment also are in the corporate culture. In fact, the entire business is supported 100 percent by wind power, and even the packing peanuts are biodegradable and dissolve in water.

Daylan and Anthony learned transferable skills at Project SEARCH that they immediately applied at Michele's. Daylan pulls freshly made packaged granola off the line, stuffs it into boxes he labels, and operates a pallet jack that helps him move and wrap the boxes for shipment. Anthony assists with assembling and labeling the boxes and operates a sophisticated granola tray cleaner.

Like any other Michele's Granola employee, Daylan and Anthony receive staff appreciation perks that include a monthly "bonfire" lunch meeting where standout team members are selected by their coworkers.

There is a quarterly massage day for staff, and the guys participate in "swap day" where they work in different positions and meet other staff while gaining additional skills. They also volunteer twice a year for Michele's nonprofit Give One for Good Food that donates one percent of proceeds to organizations that grow and champion healthy foods. All team members get a free bag of granola each week, and the hands-down favorite flavor for Tony and Daylan is chocolate cherry.

Daylan graduated from our MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Project SEARCH program and was hired in March, three months before he graduated. Tony graduated from our University of Maryland Baltimore program and started right after he graduated in June. Michele's offered Tony a tour of the facility beforehand to see where he would be working.

Tony (left) and Daylan with founder and owner Michele Tsucalas

"Our partnership with The Arc has been a positive and uplifting experience for our team. The Arc support staff took time to get to know our business and job opportunities and carefully matched the skill sets of their clients to our needs. They provided thorough job training and continue to provide professional development services to ensure a successful employment relationship." -Michele Tsucalas, owner

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