In the fall of 2009, Paul Martin found himself laid-off from CME, a company he had worked at for roughly 16 years. His company was Trade certified and he was unsure of what his future plans would be.
Paul attended a Trade Orientation session with Michigan Works! staff and learned that he would be eligible for additional income support as well as training support. Paul wanted to build on his education and work toward a master level degree.
He met with Jessicca Sommer, Employment Specialist, and decided that the MBA program at Northwood University in Midland, MI was the best choice for him. At Michigan Works! he completed the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) testing and earned a Gold level certificate. In January 2010, with the assistance of his Michigan Works! Employment Specialist, Paul started training at Northwood. Michigan Works! assisted with tuition, fees and required books/supplies through the program. Paul shared "Michigan Works! took very good care to make sure I had everything I needed. They were great!" Paul worked hard and obtained excellent grades earning a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.754.
Paul graduated from Northwood University on May 12, 2012 with his MBA and is eager to see what the future holds for him at this stage in his life. He is receiving assistance and support from his Employment Specialist and his confident that a great position is in his near future.
It takes a special type of person to be a care giver and Faith (Sobie) Bunker is that hardworking, dedicated type of person. She has taken care of the young and old for more than 30 years, even while she was employed at Electrolux for 27 years as an OP1. When she was laid off from Electrolux in November of 2005, Faith came to Michigan Works! to explore her training options.
Faith considered training to be a vet tech or information specialist. To help narrow down her choices, Faith took the Career Scope interest and aptitude assessments at Michigan Works!. Not surprising, Faith scored high in the protective and child/adult care areas. Family matters prevented Faith from entering training right away. In the meantime, she tested for local employers through Michigan Works! and took care giver positions with Health Partners and Aegin Place of West Michigan. Eventually, things fell into place and Faith was enrolled in the Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) program at GTEC in Alma. Michigan Works! funded the cost of her physical examination, TB test, scrubs and tuition. In May of 2009, Faith completed the CNA program and soon earned her state CNA certification.
Faith is now self-employed as an in-home care giver in Irons, Michigan. She lives with her elderly client and provides 24 hour care, 7 days a week, with only 6 hours off per week. Now that is dedication! When this assignment comes to an end, Faith plans to continue with working as a CNA providing her next client with the same exceptional care.
On February 15, 2012 she was hired by KBC, a janitorial company, working 40 hours per week. Alyce is ready to take one of her GED tests but has not had the time to do it yet due to her new job. The JET program has helped Alyce with mileage reimbursement, bus tokens, and work clothing. Alyce is now in the process of getting her driver’s license. Alyce stated, "My case manager at the JET program helped me with working toward my GED and gave me job leads which led to my new job. When I needed help I would call her and we would work out my problems. I really appreciated all the help that the JET program gave me." Alyce’s employer’s corporate office is in Ohio but she works in Cedar Springs. We at JET are very proud of Alyce’s success and achievements.
Lillian Russell came to the Isabella County Michigan Works! in July of 2009 after relocating and undergoing a major life change. Lillian was looking to better herself and wanted to increase her marketability. Lillian was very interested in changing career paths and decided with her Employment Specialist on a Medical Assistant program. She worked with her Employment Specialist to complete the necessary steps to get enrolled to start her new career.
Lillian and her Employment Specialist worked closely with the AMASE program where she was able to update and increase math skills to assist her in her career goals. After Lillian completed the AMASE program she quickly started working towards enrolling in the Medical Assistant program at Mid Michigan Community College. She received assistance with required uniforms, immunizations and testing fees. Lillian’s Employment Specialist was there to help her through each step, providing case management services to assist in achieving her goal.
While participating in the Dislocated Worker Program as a displaced homemaker, Lillian was able to take the National Career Readiness and received a silver certificate. She overcame many barriers while attending school and through it all still maintained excellent academics. Lillian graduated with honors and was a part of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.
Lillian and her Employment Specialist have worked together to job search and create a professional resume. Lillian is currently looking for a full time position as a Medical Assistant.
Lillian Russell stated that, "Michigan Works! works, and has been my personal cheerleader. My Employment Specialist has given me verbal support all along the way and informed me of programs that could be helpful while waiting to start school. I have completed the Medical Assistant program and seeking employment in the medical field. I value the advice and training I received from Michigan Works!."
After 30+ years of skills, knowledge and experience working as an Administrative Assistant, Telemarketer and Sales Representative, Diane Hamlin lost her job and came to Montcalm County Michigan Works! in Greenville looking for assistance with job searching, updating her resume, job skill testing, and updating her skills in new technologies.
Diane said, "The staff in Greenville went all out to help me; and, after seeing my work experience and skills, encouraged me to go back to college. I enrolled in the Health Care Revenue Cycle at Montcalm Community College where I was able to obtain two national certifications: CHHA (Certified Healthcare Access Associate) and CPAT (Certified Patient Account Technician). To my great joy I maintained a 3.7 GPA and was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society where I also became an Officer as the Recording Secretary for the Alpha Tau Alpha chapter."
With the prestigious honor society membership, Diane has earned the right to wear their regalia at graduation – the blue and gold honor cords, yellow sash, honor society medallion, and officer medal on a blue ribbon.
Now that she’s in the throes of job searching, Diane also has investigated the availability and use of Michigan Works! On the Job Training program (OJT). The main benefit is the wage reimbursement, which helps employers substantially lower their training cost for newly hired employees.
"This has been one of the MOST EXCITING experiences (and most challenging) in my life. Without the financial and personal support of Michigan Works!, I would not have been given this opportunity to enter into the exciting and fast growing healthcare field. I cannot thank Michigan Works! enough for what they have done for me."
Kandi Avery worked as a direct care worker at a local foster care employer for years. She decided to get CNA (Certified Nurse Aid) training to open new opportunities that could pay more. Kandi came to the Alma Michigan Works! Service Center for assistance paying for her CNA state license. With the assistance of the Adult Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, Kandi was able to complete the CNA state test. Immediately after passing the test, Kandi became employed as a CNA with Ray of Hope.
"Michigan Works! is wonderful in helping you in any way they can. Plus they will work with you and around your schedule," stated Kandi Avery.
Kandi added, "CNA is a great field if you like helping people and care for them. I love my new job."
Michael came to Greenville Michigan Works! Service Center in 2008 after being laid off and unable to find suitable work in his field of experience. His work experience included Computer Repair and Well Drilling. The demand for those jobs had declined; especially without a college degree. Michael took the Interest Apptitude assessment, Career Scope, which suggested areas in Mechanical or Scientific areas such as Auto CAD or Electrician. He also completed the WorkKeys assessment receiving a Gold National Career Readiness Certificate.
In June of 2009, he started at Montcalm Community College (MCC), in the Technical Design and Drafting Associates Degree program. Michael successfully completed the program in December 2011; receiving his Associates in Applied Science-Drafting Technology.
In March 2012, Michael came into the Greenville Michigan Works! Service Center for job searching. He was given information about Pridgeon and Clay’s job posting listed on the Michigan Talent bank and applied for a production position. He received a call for an interview two days later. Michael stated, "I really appreciated the help from Michgan Works! staff. My Employment Specialist provided me with information on getting ready for my interview, helped update my resume, and assisted with completing an on-line application.
Michael is currently working as a CNC Operator at Pridgeon and Clay in Grand Rapids and is getting lots of overtime.
Jennifer Vereb began coming to Gratiot County Michigan Works! service center shortly after losing her job at the Soaring Eagle Casino where she had worked as a housekeeper for almost 6 years. She came in often to use the computers for job searching and to make copies of her resume. She also faxed her resume to many employers from the Michigan Works! service center.
Jennifer had previous experience working as a direct care worker. She decided that this was an avenue that she would like to pursue in her job search. Not long after Jennifer had applied to Schnepp Senior Care and Rehab in Saint Louis, she received a call and was asked to come in for an interview. A few days later she was offered a position as a laundry and housekeeping attendant. She will start her new career at the beginning of June. She is a caring person and loves to be around people and feels like this is the perfect opportunity for her.
Jennifer credits Michigan Works! for helping her to find this job. The fact that she did not have a computer at home and was able to come to Michigan Works! to search for jobs, apply for jobs, and get resume assistance all at one location was very helpful.
Shanda Reisbig had been going from job to job for the past few years trying to make ends meet. She had previously worked at Perks Party Store in Ionia making $7.40 an hour as a cashier. Shanda wanted to find a job with more hours and better pay and she was lucky to find it. Shanda loves her new employment at the Ionia Marathon as a cashier making $8.00 an hour and more hours than she was getting before. Her new employers, Amy and Gill, said, "Shanda is doing a great job and she knows how to run a cash register."
Shanda has been coming in to the Ionia Michigan Works! Service Center for the past several years whenever she is looking for employment. Shanda said, "I can do my entire job searching right from the Ionia Michigan Works! Service Center. Being able to use the computers, phone, copier, printer, fax machine and doing some networking with other people looking for employment makes it the spot to be when looking for a job."
Shanda seems to be very happy in her new position and we hope that it all works out for her!
Compassionate Care is in Saginaw, but they have accepted several customers in the Mecosta area. When it was time to hire new people, Compassionate Care conducted a resume search on the Michigan Talent Bank. Susan Strefling, of Compassionate Care, indicated that it was very time consuming and by the time she was finished her fingers hurt. Many of the resumes had numbers that were disconnected and many were not interested in the positions. The few candidates that agreed to interview were in the Mecosta area and did not want to travel to Saginaw to interview. Michelle Brewer, of Compassionate Care, contacted the Isabella County Michigan Works! Service Center to see if there was a room available for interviewing. Michigan Works! was able to provide them with interview space. Susan stated, "The staff was very helpful; making copies and helping with the fax machine. Michelle indicated that Compassionate Care is expanding and needs an additional 10 people. Michigan Works! staff offered to post a job order on the Michigan Talent bank for them. Applications will be accepted on their behalf and they will be using the service center for future interviews.
Cheryl started coming into Montcalm County Michigan Works! in April for job search help on the computer. Her arm was in a cast and she struggled with these online job searches she was required to do, as she is laid off and her company is unable to meet her job restrictions.
The organization that is monitoring her job search has also requested that she sign up for free online computer classes through Goodwill. Last week Michigan Works! Wagner-Peyser staff helped her register and she did her first trial test on Microsoft Word 2007. Her monitor is pleased with her progress.
Cheryl comes every Thursday morning for help during the open lab at the Montcalm Michigan Works! Service Center. During this time, staff do four hours of one on one with clients in the lobby helping them with their online job search issues. She has successfully filled out many online applications and has completed numerous 20 to 30 minute questionnaires attached to these applications. She is becoming quite a pro at this process.
Cheryl commented about Michigan Works!, "You’ve been a lot of help in my learning to maneuver around the computer; it would have been almost impossible for me to complete my assignments in job searching and I never would have been able to start these online computer classes. Thank you so much!!"
Amber Mercer has been actively working with the Gratiot County Michigan Works! Service Center since June of 2008. Along the way, Amber has learned an array of employability and life skills as well as received training and supportive services to assist her in becoming more employable.
Michigan Works! was able to assist Amber with gaining various skills through a ladder approach to the work experience program. She was placed at the Gratiot County Michigan Works! office to gain clerical experience. Amber learned how to operate general office equipment including a fax machine, copy machine, and shredder. She also developed customer service skills by completing various phone calls to local organizations.
To build upon her abilities, Amber was then placed on the Traveling Work Crew to learn how to use various hand and power tools as well as an understanding of landscaping and maintenance. Amber has been trained on how to properly operate weed whips, lawn edger’s, and lawn mowers which allowed her to assist the work crew with beautifying local city flowerbeds and cemeteries.
In May of 2012, Amber was invited to attend "Straight Talk featuring Brian Tenny from IAC." This free workshop offered to the public allowed job seekers to learn about what employers expect in applicants. Topics such as appearance, attitude, and honesty were covered in the two hour session.
Throughout Amber’s participation in the WIA Youth program, she has been actively job searching and asking for advice and job referrals. She applied at IAC through Michigan Works!, interviewed and was offered a job on June 7, 2012. Amber begins her full time operator position with the company on June 11, 2012.
Lisa Proton came to the Isabella County Michigan Works! Service Center in April of 2011 looking for assistance with training and employment. Lisa attended a youth orientation and started working with a case manager. Lisa completed the steps for enrollment and started attending the Youth Enrichment Program with the goal of increasing her reading and math skills.
While Lisa participated in the enrichment program she received assistance with a training stipend, mileage reimbursement and start up costs for car insurance. As a part of the youth program Lisa had the opportunity to prepare for the National Career Readiness which is a nationally recognized certificate. Lisa took the assessment and attained a Bronze Certificate.
While participating in the youth program Lisa started school and is working towards a career in the medical field. Lisa also obtained a position at the Soaring Eagle Casino where she works in the house keeping department.
Lisa stated that, "The Michigan Works! Youth program helped me reach my goal of increasing my reading and math levels which is helping me while attending school to attain my goal of working in the medical field."
Brandi Spencer was 19 years of age when she began participating in the WIA Youth Program at the Montcalm Michigan Works! Service Center. Brandi had not attended high school since 2009, was a single mother and had little work experience.
Brandi began her GED preparation in the Montcalm Enrichment Class on December 15, 2011. While in class she was able to increase her basic math skills and prepare for GED testing. On April 10th of 2012, Brandi completed GED testing, which resulted in her obtaining her High School Equivalency Certificate.
During this time Brandi also worked at several full-time, temporary jobs which often interfered with class times, getting approved and scheduling for testing.
Brandi has just begun full-time college courses at Montcalm Community College in Sidney, Michigan for the summer. She is not planning on working at present, as being a full-time mother and full-time student seems to fill most of her time.
Brandy continues to utilize the enrichment classroom and Michigan Works! to study and get additional assistance when she needs it. She also participates in workshops that are offered through the youth program.
Brandi appears to be a very capable person, determined to succeed, and focused on working in Human Services.
May 2012 Success Stories