Going PRO Talent Fund – A Success Story

Members of CCI Systems stand in front of a reception desk posing for a picture and holding gold certificates.

This entry has been written by CCI Systems, the recipient of training dollars from the Going PRO Talent Fund.

The 2019 Going PRO Talent Fund (GPTF) awarded CCI Systems $109,500. We are proud to have trained 21 new employees and have sent 51 managers through the Dale Carnegie Signature program, both funded in part by the Going PRO Talent Fund! The ability to quickly onboard new employees and offset the burden of their initial training from the Engineering Production team has positioned our Engineering Services business unit to resourcefully meet customer demands. Engineering Services has experienced a 15% reduction in employee attrition in newly hired employees (less than 6 months) which we attribute in part to the value of our onboarding and new hire training.

Additionally, CCI Systems is committed to a healthy employee-manager relationship and knows that frequent communication is key. Enhanced communication is one of the skills CCI Systems managers work on in through the Dale Carnegie program. Engineering’s overall turnover has declined from 35% two years ago to 20% this year, which we attribute in large part to our improved management communication and employee relationships.

For more information about the Going PRO Talent Fund or other Michigan Works! programs and services, please contact your nearest American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Continue Workforce Training in the Upper Peninsula

Stock image of a pen laying on a notebook, a microscope examining a sample, and a person using a power drill on a screw.

Michigan Works! is reaching out to inform businesses and organizations that, as it presently stands, the Going PRO Talent Fund, the same training dollars that upskilled 590 employees and provided training to 340 new hires through 174 awarded trainings in 2019, is not included in the State’s 2020 budget.

Based on a State estimate, 22,000 Michigan workers will be denied critical training and potential wage increases if the money previously allocated to the Talent Fund is not restored.

To take the funding away from this program would be a disservice to the Upper Peninsula employees looking to grow professionally, and the organizations that employ them, such as CCI Systems, a company who trained 21 new employees and upskilled 51 managers using the $109,500 allocated to them through the Going PRO Talent Fund.

That is why we urge you to send a Letter of Support for the Going PRO Talent Fund to the Governor and to members of the Michigan legislature. At this link, you will find a fillable Letter of Support template you may utilize by copying it to your organization’s letterhead. Once it is copied to your letterhead and filled in with your information, you can send it to contactus@isupward.org. We will compile Letters of Support and send them to Michigan’s Governor and legislators on your behalf.

If you have questions or comments about supporting the re-instatement of funding for the Going PRO Talent Fund, please feel free to reach out to your local Michigan Works! American Job Center’s Employer Specialist.

Road to Success: Electrical Lineman

Two linemen work at the top of an electrical pole with a blue sky in the background.

Please note that the pathway described below is typical of the field, but it is not the only way to find success.

An Electrical Lineman has a rewarding, but dangerous, job. They routinely work and provide maintenance on high-powered electrical lines and systems in all kinds of fair and inclement weather. To be entrusted to keep the lights on for thousands of Upper Peninsula residents, one must complete comprehensive training and education.

First Step: High School Trades Classes

If possible, take electives in high school that are directly applicable to a career in the trades, such as Auto Mechanics or Construction.

Second Step: Work Experience

Find summer and post-graduation jobs that will apply to a future career. Taking a job in a relative’s office sorting mail may seem enticing, but if becoming a Lineman is the end goal, jobs working outdoors and performing manual labor will be more applicable.

Third Step (Option A): Union Hall

After graduation, visit Electrical Lineman union halls throughout the State and apply for an Apprenticeship. If chosen for an apprenticeship, hands-on training and education will be provided while working full-time.

Third Step (Option B): Trade School

Following high school, apply to and complete an Associate’s Degree or Certificate Program in a certified Electrical Lineman program at an educational institution.

Fourth Step: Apply to a Company

If offered a permanent position directly through a union hall, that’s great! You’re well on your way to a rewarding career as an Electrical Lineman.

For those just graduating from a trade school, now is the time to apply to utility companies around the State.

Fifth Step: Seek Assistance

If the job hunt isn’t successful, visit a Michigan Works! American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula. Knowledgable experts will help refine a resume and build positive interview habits.

Sixth Step: Enjoy a Rewarding Career

Congratulations! An exciting, sustainable career is yours to enjoy!

If you’re interested in more information about Michigan Works! programs and services, please reach out to a Michigan Works! American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Healthy Michigan Plan Updates and Michigan Works! Assistance

Woman Wearing Red and Black Checkered Blouse Using Macbook

Updates to the Healthy Michigan Plan, effective January 1st, outline new requirements for some participants to ensure the continuation of Medicaid health coverage.


Individuals between the ages of 19 and 62 who receive Medicaid health coverage through the Healthy Michigan Plan will now be required to participate in work-related activities for a total of 80 hours per month, such as:

Having a Job, Job Search, Vocational Training, Being a Student, Internships, Volunteer Work, Participation in a Tribal Employment Program, and/or Participation in a Rehabilitation Program.

Please note that the required 80 hours can be accumulated through a combination of any of the above activities.


Those required to participate will be notified in their MI Bridges accounts or will receive a letter from the State of Michigan in the mail.

The requirements are applicable only to those who have not been excused by the State. To view a list of exemptions, please visit healthymichiganplan.org.

Moving Forward

To assist those affected by the updated requirements, Michigan Works! can provide the following services:

Job Search and Application Assistance, Referrals to Outside Service Providers, Technology Assistance, Workforce Development and Training Programs, Connections to Community Resources, Job Preparation, and more.

For more information about Michigan Works! services, please visit your local American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Youth Career Exploration with Talent Tours and TV 6

Melinda and Sarah sit across from one another in an interview setting. They're seated in yellow armchairs with a plant between them.

On January 8th, 2020, Melinda from Michigan Works! joined Sarah at TV 6 to talk about Talent Tours, the benefits derived from them, and how one might inquire about hosting a Talent Tour.

To see the full interview, please follow this link.

For more information about Michigan Works! programs and services, and how they can get your ready for success, please visit your local Michigan Works! office, or call 1-800-285-WORKS (9675).

A Nurse and A Mother – A Success Story

Nichole stands in front of a blank wall wearing gray scrubs, a stethoscope, and a badge.

Nichole came to a Michigan Works! American Job Center after being referred by the State of Michigan through one of their programs. She was going through hard times, as she had just lost her job and recently became a single mother of two. Nichole had additional, significant barriers when she first came to us, as she didn’t have car insurance, her car needed repairs, she needed work clothes, and she lacked transportation funds. Without being able to use her car, she could not travel to work or school.

After learning about Nichole’s barriers, Michigan Works! helped pay for Nichole’s car insurance, a new windshield for her car, three months of mileage reimbursement, and new clothes for work and training.

While working through the State of Michigan program, Nichole obtained a part-time job as a Certified Nurse’s Aide at a local hospital, and also enrolled as a full-time student at Bay College to work towards her Registered Nurse (RN) license.

She is doing well in the RN program and will graduate in May of 2020 with the prospect of becoming a full-time RN for a local hospital.

Michigan Works! on Mackinac Island in 2019

Stock image of a notebook with a pen sitting next to a cup of coffee and the left edge of a laptop on a wooden desk.

From October 22nd to November 26th, Michigan Works! employees provided intensive services to Mackinac Island residents at the Community Center on Mackinac Island. Residents who would typically have to travel to either St. Ignace or Cheboygan to fulfill Unemployment requirements had the option to visit this temporary pop-up center, saving them precious time and money. A survey was distributed to those who visited the center to ascertain the viability and effectiveness of this new service venue.

The following are statistics and comments from the surveys completed by customers who visited the Michigan Works! pop-up center on Mackinac Island in 2019 as of December 3rd, 2019.

  • Total Number of People Who Visited the Center: 50
  • Number of Survey Respondents: 36
  • Percent of Respondents Who Usually Visited St. Ignace: 100%
  • Percent of Customers Who Said the Services Fit Their Need: 100%

Given the price of transportation to and from the Island, and the harsh fall and winter weather, the service provided was accepted with open arms. Below, we’ve featured some of the comments we received from the respondents of the aforementioned survey.

  • “Wonderful service. This is a great service to our community to have this available for us.”
  • “It was very convenient having this available to residents of the island. It saves a lot of time. Thank you!”
  • “I really appreciate having services here on the island. It was so helpful to me.”
  • “It saves me time and money having them come to the island. Thank you.”
  • “The service was excellent and I am so glad that you have provided this on the island.”
  • “Excellent idea to have Michigan Works here available on Mackinac!”

For more information about programs and services that Michigan Works! provides, please visit one of our American Job Centers in the Upper Peninsula.

2019 Freshman Manufacturing Day

Image with a student in the foreground, and a green robotic arm in the background, which is in focus.

Video Courtesy of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District (EUPISD)

On October 18th, 2019, students interested in a career in manufacturing and the trades convened at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for the 2019 Freshman Manufacturing Day. At this event, CTE students explored career options in skilled trades.

After the event, a video was created recapping the entire event. Please view the video at this link.

This event was hosted by the EUPISD on Lake Superior State University’s campus with the help of the Sault EDC, Michigan Works!, and local manufacturers.

For more information about Michigan Works! services and events, please visit an American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Midwest Truck Driving Visits JMG

A representative from Midwest Truck Driving School stands in front of a classroom full of children sitting at desks who have their backs to the camera.

On December 11th, a representative from the Midwest Truck Driving School visited Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) students at the Jack Reque Alternative High School in Manistique. The representative provided the students with information related to how to become a Truck Driver, and what someone’s life would be like working as a Truck Driver.

The Midwest Truck Driving School, located in Escanaba, MI, helps aspiring Truck Drivers achieve their career goals by providing them with intensive classroom and hands-on training. After training with Midwest, successful students have the capability to earn their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), a certification that makes them an asset to companies seeking qualified employees.

Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates is a program whose goal is to reduce dropout rates with at-risk students. Tours, presentations, and education are used to meet that goal.

For more information about Michigan Works! programs and services, please visit an American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Works! Visits TV 6 to Talk Success Stories

Tim sits across from Sarah with a Christmas tree between them during an interview.

On December 11th, 2019, Tim from Michigan Works! in Marquette County visited TV 6 to discuss Michigan Works! services and one of our Success Stories.

Candie, a client who is now fully employed as a truck driver, came to Michigan Works! in search of assistance. Through meaningful discussions with a Michigan Works! employee, it was established that Candie had an interest in driving trucks since she came from a truck driving family. Knowing that, Candie was enrolled as a client with Michigan Works!

To hear more of Candie’s story, please follow this link and watch the entire interview on TV 6’s website.

For more information about Michigan Works! programs and services, please visit your nearest American Job Center. With a little bit of assistance, you could be a Success Story, too!