Wamego native JaNiece Rush has lived in New York for the past 27 years, 20 of which she’s operated Lifestyle Resources, a company that supplies personal assistants and estate managers to an ultra-rich clientele, including a lot of celebrities.
For a couple of reasons, Rush has returned home to Kansas to start an offshoot of the company, Sterling Academy for Household Assistance.
“One plays off the other,” she says of the businesses.
Sterling Academy will train apprentices to provide live-in help for more of the country club set – not necessarily the very wealthiest.
“I’m running out of people to place,” Rush says.
She says it’s harder for people from England and other countries to get into the United States to work these days, and other Lifestyle workers are aging out of the business.
Rush says she wants to hire students just out of college “when they haven’t figured out exactly what they’re going to do for that first job.”
“I want to train them up the right way so that I can eventually place them with my current client base,” she says. “The apprentice year is just so we can teach best practices, let them test it out.”
She says she thinks they’ll find it’s lucrative work, even in the apprenticeship phase.
“They’re living very, very well in the homes of their employers.”
Rush says the apprentices can offer great assistance, especially for families in which both parents work.
“You still have to come home and figure out what you’re going to feed the darn kids.”
The apprentices “give you your weekends back, but they learn a lot while doing it.”
Rush has set up a Midwest office in Independence and has an employee who will lead recruiting efforts out of Wichita.
“We are specifically looking for Midwest students who want to do this,” she says. “Just because we’re raised with a different work ethic and morals and standards that play really, really well into this type of career.”
She says there’s a code of ethics people in these positions must abide by, and they also have to be discreet and good at time management.
Rush says Wichita-area families can use the Sterling Household service by going to www.sterlingstaff.com, and potential apprentices can find out more about jobs there, too.
“It’s kind of a hidden industry,” she says.
There’s one other reason Rush wanted to return to Kansas to start the company. She still has family here, including a daughter at the University of Kansas.
“I wanted to move home.”