Ladaisha Cotton has had her share of struggles that has kept employment further from reach than the average job seeker. With a criminal history including felonies, Ladaisha couldn’t even find work at McDonalds. Since there is no federal law that prohibits employers from asking about an applicants criminal history, many of them do.  


“With a lot of doors being closed being a felon, just, ya know, a habitual felon, I couldn’t even get a job at McDonalds. And my background ya know, I pay for myself to go to school. I’m just like ‘I never been through this. Where do I start? Where do I go?’” 


Ladaisha wasn’t sure where to turn. 


“With that being said, I almost gave up. I felt like ya know, I’d rather take the prison time then to give them all my money. I felt like it was hard to eat so um, I didn’t have a lot of energy to do much. So I was just searchin’ for different options.”


That is when Ladaisha learned about a job fair at The Matrix Center. Among the variety of opportunities she found there, she also learned about the Matrix Manufacturing Boot Camp, a free six week training program that prepares people for careers in manufacturing and assists them with job placement after graduation. At first, she thought it would be a good opportunity for her son, and after further thought, she decided to do it herself. 


“And when I read (it) to him and he came with me… (Now) we’re both here and today is graduation day,” Ladaisha said with a big smile. 



Life had been a very bumpy road for Ladaisha leading up to this point. It had been three years since she was employed and before that, she was homeless, living in a motel with 2 of her children for 5 years. She explains how the Matrix Manufacturing Boot Camp helped change her life, 


“And I’m so blessed that I had the opportunity. It’s life changing – every day I got up and it… Was just something positive to do and it kept me motivated. So I would show up a half an hour early just to see ya know, if I needed to do anything, or if I needed extra advice, or anything in life, that I was here, ahead of time. And, I’m very grateful. Very, very grateful that I had the opportunity.”


Ladaisha is now employed in manufacturing and says she loves her job. She works ten to twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week and says she is earning a lot of overtime pay. 


“I said I can get through this. And with this accomplishment I’m here!”