MCD Partners

Memphis Daily News
An A-One Idea For Memphis
May 10, 2018
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

A-One Staffing LLC, a female- and minority-owned and operated staffing agency in Memphis, is all about people and all about Memphis.

So often you hear that Memphis has difficulty attracting companies to locate here due to the shortage of an employable workforce. It’s not often you hear about someone doing something about changing that, until you talk to Sterlyn Howell, president and CEO of A-One Staffing.

Founded in 1997, A-One Staffing provides a full range of employment services like background checks, drug screening and skills assessment to meet the needs of employers. They address the needs that businesses have for hourly wage employees to fill a long list of positions such as construction, data entry, general laborers, office workers, maintenance, janitorial, IT specialists, warehouse staffing, medical assistants and many more.

As the need for these employees is growing, the pool of those employable for these positions is shrinking due to factors such as drug testing, background checks and talent. Even when the talent can be developed, what do you do when 70 percent of the applicants can’t pass a THC (marijuana) drug test, and others might have a criminal record?

When you’re Sterlyn Howell, you start a Second Chance Program. If an applicant tests positive for THC, and has the skills and desire to work, then A-One Staffing invites them to enter the Second Chance Program. If accepted into the 90-day program, the employee agrees to refrain from THC and to submit to random drug tests. They also agree to not be late or miss a day of work during the program.

A-One solicits businesses to conditionally hire those enrolled in the programs and together, A-One, the employer and the employee all work to ensure success. The program increases the employable workforce in Memphis and helps applicants break the THC habit.

A-One also works with parole officers and halfway houses to help those who served jail time for nonviolent offenses to re-enter society and find gainful employment through the Second Chance Program.

“I’m not a quitter on an idea or a person,” Howell said, “and I’m willing to help anyone who is willing to work, but just needs a second chance.”

A-One also started a charitable community outreach called Gifts of Love. During December they fill a tractor-trailer with food, toys and clothing to be distributed to people living in poverty in the Mississippi Delta region.

“I’m from the Delta,” Howell said, “and I know what it’s like to be poor, and I know what can happen when someone is willing to help you, to lift you up.”

A-One also supports the local community with donations of food, and backpacks for students.

“We understand,” Howell said, “how difficult it can be to land a job, and there are more and more businesses struggling to hire new employees. We want to work to make it a win-win for both in Memphis.”

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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