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Front-Line Covid-19 Nurse Is National Staffing Employee of the Year


ASA Also Selected All-Stars in Five Industry Sectors

The American Staffing Association today announced that Linda Cardenas is the 2021 National Staffing Employee of the Year. ASA also named National Staffing Employee of the Year All-Stars in the five staffing and recruiting industry sectors. These announcements mark the beginning of National Staffing Employee Week, Sept. 14‒20. This annual event celebrates the contributions of the millions temporary and contract employees hired by U.S. staffing agencies each year.


National Staffing Employee of the Year

Health Care Sector
Linda Cardenas

Cardenas began working with Assured Healthcare Staffing in 2016 as a contract substitute school nurse with the Round Lake Beach, IL, school district. She established a great rapport with the students and teachers at all of the schools where she was assigned―particularly with one school, Ellis Elementary. In August 2017, Cardenas bridged to a permanent role as a school nurse there. When her school district shuttered this spring due to the pandemic, Cardenas rapidly pivoted professionally to serve as contract nurse at long-term care nursing facilities in her geographic area (on assignments through Assured Healthcare Staffing) where multiple cases of Covid-19 were known to be present. Despite the type of work and environment differing drastically from school nursing and putting her in a potentially dangerous situation health-wise, Cardenas stepped up and has been filling as many shifts as she can―including overtime, if necessary. A staffing hero, Cardenas is providing crucial health care support to nursing home residents in this very challenging time.

Engineering, Information Technology, and Scientific Sector All-Star
Melissa Jimenez

Jimenez began her partnership with staffing agency, Insight Global, as a client with UCI. Unfortunately, in 2016, UCI experienced budget cuts that resulted in her position as a help desk supervisor being cut. Instead of being discouraged, she took the opportunity to enroll in business analyst and project management classes while also connecting with her partners at Insight Global for available opportunities. In 2017, UCI needed a contract business analyst with expertise in a specific digital workflow platform and, with Jimenez’s previous knowledge of the platform and new business analyst and project management skills, she secured the assignment.. Three years later, Jimenez was offered a permanent role at UCI as an IT service management and automation supervisor. Staffing created a full circle opportunity for Jimenez to obtain and excel in a permanent role she loves that she would not otherwise have been able to access.

Industrial Sector All-Star
Darius Bowles

After moving to Phoenix for a new job, Bowles’ offer fell through almost immediately after he arrived in the city. With no income, he soon found himself without a home or car. Bowles connected with staffing agency, Integrity Staffing Solutions, for temporary work in August 2019, as it offered a desirable flexible schedule and opportunity to learn different jobs. Temporary assignments—as well as his own perseverance and work ethic—gave Bowles a fast route to permanent employment. Working at a large fulfillment warehouse, he was assigned to multiple areas including packing, picking, receiving, and receiving support. Within six months, Bowles bridged to a permanent role with the client. Today, he is living in Phoenix in his own apartment and owns a car, which makes getting to and from work much easier. Staffing helped Bowles turn his life around, and he is now planning to fulfill his dream of traveling around the world once possible again after the pandemic.

Office–Clerical and Administrative Sector All-Star
Laura Line

When Line first joined her staffing agency, Emerson Group, five years ago, she was a single mom and needed the schedule flexibility and work–life balance staffing offers to address her son’s needs. She was hired as a temporary receptionist at Emerson Group corporate headquarters. Immediately, Line’s kindness and patience with others stood out—especially with nervous candidates visiting the staffing company for an interview. Due to her excellent work and attitude, she was promoted to a temporary production assistant role with Emerson and then bridged to a permanent role as administrative assistant. During her tenure at Emerson, Line was able to take online classes in business administration and got married. In fact, Line and her wife recently purchased their first home together. Staffing changed Line’s life for the better by providing desired flexibility to care for her young son and opportunities to grow as a professional by gaining new skill sets and confidence.

Professional-Managerial Sector All-Star
Natalie Zousel

Zousel was employed as a human resources coordinator when she was recruited by her staffing company, Integrated Human Capital, in 2018 for a long-term contract position with Toyota Financial Services. Though her goal was to find a permanent position, Zousel was excited about the opportunity to work for a global organization on contract as an entry-level recruiter. While on assignment, she transitioned to another with a new manager with the company. Zousel excelled there and quickly transitioned to a permanent role with Toyota Financial Services in March 2020. Since bridging to a permanent position, she has been promoted and continues to seek opportunities that challenge her, develop her skills, and allow her to grow personally and professionally. Through staffing, Zousel found a new career path in which she continues to grow and succeed.

As National Staffing Employee of the Year, Cardenas will be formally honored at a recognition ceremony during Staffing World® 2020, the ASA annual convention and expo, being held virtually this year.

The National Staffing Employee of the Year program is sponsored by StaffPro3, a division of PMC Insurance.

To learn more about the National Staffing Employee of the Year program and National Staffing Employee Week, visit

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About the American Staffing Association (ASA)

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit

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