Nicole Young Potvin Visits JMG Students at Jack Reque Alternative High School

Nicole Young Potvin is posing for the camera in the classroom holding three of her books.

On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, Michigan Works! staff member Amy coordinated a visit from Nicole Young Potvin to the Jack Reque Alternative High School to provide information and education to Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) students.

Nicole is the author of the book series, “A Patricia Amble Mystery.”  During her visit, she taught the students how to publish a book and what the realities of the wages are as an author.  She also taught them about different types of genres, writing styles, and jobs they can obtain as a writer, aside from being an Author.  Jobs for those who are interested in composition and writing are Social Media Writer, Blogger, Newspaper Editor, Speechwriter, and Technical Writer.

Nicole Presenting to JMG Students

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! services, programs, and events, please contact your nearest American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.

Career Exploration and Awareness Month 2019

Stock photograph from the State of Michigan that reads, "December is Career Exploration and Awareness Month. Michigan has thousands of career opportunities to explore. #MICareerAwareness."

Did you know that December has been proclaimed as Career Exploration and Awareness Month? Take this time to explore careers using Pure Michigan Talent Connect and Pathfinder.

Pathfinder is an online tool that allows you to explore different paths in a commitment-free, accessible environment. From looking up apprenticeships to figuring out the cost of tuition, you can do it all through Pathfinder.

For in-person career services, join us at a Michigan Works! American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula. We’ll help you identify your strengths and interests, locate necessary training, apply to jobs, and more. Your career success is our job.

For more information about careers throughout the Upper Peninsula, and the entire state of Michigan, please visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect.

Life Changer – A Success Story

David stands in front of a Midwest Truck Driving School sign with a certificate in his hand, standing between two other men.

David came to Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! looking for assistance in obtaining his GED as he had not fulfilled the requirements to obtain a High School diploma. He also had a baby on the way, so he needed a job to support his family. Michigan Works! staff helped set him up with online GED courses through the local school district. We also helped him obtain a job as a Landfill Attendant making over minimum wage to help sustain his new child.

While working at the landfill, David was told that if he obtained his CDL A, he would get a full-time job as a Truck Driver making significantly more money. Prompted by that information, David came to the American Job Center and asked us if he would be able to get help paying for his CDL A at the Midwest Truck Driving School. Knowing his situation and realizing the positive impact the certification would have on his growing family, we submitted a training contract and David was approved.

Michigan Works! helped pay for David to attend the 160 HR CVT CDL A training at the Midwest Truck Driving School. David passed the course with flying colors. However, he did not pass the driving test right away. At this time, he was unsure of himself and did not want to test again for fear of failure.  Michigan Works! staff, seeing the potential in front of David, talked him into taking the driving test again. David drove 50 miles a day for a week practicing his truck driving skills so that he could pass his test. 

When it came time for David to take the test again, he was ready, and he passed!  David obtained a full-time job as a Truck Driver with the landfill and is now making a fair wage. David said that what Michigan Works! did for him was a life changer. He said he never would have been able to obtain his CDL A and a full-time job if it had not been for the help of Michigan Works! David is a grateful participant, happy that he can now help support his family.

Lessons on How to Start a Small Business with JMG

Students sit with their backs to the camera in a classroom setting while a woman from the SBDC stands in front of the class talking to them about starting a business.

In late November, Nicole Young Potvin from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) met with Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) students at Jack Reque Alternative High School. During Nicole’s presentation, she taught students how to take their future into their own hands by starting a small business. Skills like this help young individuals propel their career forward in a manner of their choosing.

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.

The Small Business Development Center is staffed by experienced, thoughtful individuals who work with entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground by providing no-cost services such as business plan development and market research. For more information about the SBDC, please follow this link.

Serving Those Who Protect and Serve

Stock photograph of the top of a police car with its blue lights on.

A partnership among Michigan Works!, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department, and Lake Superior State University.

Every day, Law Enforcement Officers put themselves in harm’s way to serve their communities. This type of service and dedication requires selflessness, education, and comprehensive training. The training and education they need require sacrifice and a sharp mind, in addition to large financial contributions. Given the present cost of education, individuals seeking out career skills are left wanting from time to time – including future Law Enforcement Officers.

Michigan Works! is a workforce service agency that, while also providing job-seeking services such as resume creation and life skill development, utilizes program funds to help individuals afford the education and training they require to attain full, meaningful employment. In some situations, this assistance comes in the form of work boots. In others, the assistance can cover the cost of a training program, such as the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) program.

Over the last four years, the Michigan Works! American Job Center in Chippewa County has been funding the MCOLES training for many future Law Enforcement Officers with the help of LSSU Professor Herbert Henderson. Professor Henderson, throughout his many years of service, has been an advocate for Michigan Works! services. Year after year without fail, he would refer his students to the Michigan Works! Center in Sault Ste. Marie.

Out of the many students who came through the doors of Michigan Works!, there were a number of them who applied to the local law enforcement agency, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department. In total, four LSSU MCOLES students with a relationship to Michigan Works! in Chippewa County were hired at the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department since 2015. That equates to approximately 31% of the patrolmen at Sault PD. Additionally, another patrolman on the Sault PD staff received Michigan Works! assistance, although they came from Presque Isle below the bridge.

A good story is built by the subjects within, and this story has three. If you were to take one out, the story wouldn’t come together. Each piece – Lake Superior State University, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department, and Michigan Works! – was integral to the success of the story, and the individuals who are now employed protecting the community they serve. Everyone, including Police Officers, need help to achieve their goals, and Michigan Works! is proud to offer that assistance.

TV6 Interview with Jason of Michigan Works!

A closeup of Jason during his TV6 interview. The bottom of the screen reads Jason Venema.

Apprentices and National Apprenticeship Week

On November 13, 2019 Jason from Michigan Works! UPward Talent Council traveled to TV6 to discuss apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Week.

To watch the interview with Jason, please follow this link.

For more information on apprenticeships, please visit an American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula or go to

MTEC SmartZone’s Return North Event

Event flyer with the following printed on it: Come on UP! Connect. Network. Hire. Return North. Friday, November 29th, 2019 from 3 to 5 PM.

UPward Talent Council – Michigan Works! is proud to sponsor MTEC SmartZone’s Return North event on November 29th at the Continental Fire Company.

Via MTEC SmartZone’s Website (

MTEC SmartZone will once again be hosting its Return North event this coming November. Return North is an event aiming to connect job seekers with local, hiring companies and support the attraction and retention of qualified professionals in the area. In collaboration with the Innovate Marquette SmartZone, MTEC is inviting local professionals and those coming home for the holidays to join in this networking reception and find your next job opportunity. This event is free to job seekers and open to the community.

Event Details
Date: Friday, November 29, 2019, Time: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Continental Fire Company, 408 E. Montezuma Avenue, Houghton, MI 49931
RSVP Required
Cost: Free for Jobseekers | $150 for Companies

RSVP by visiting RSVPs are due by November 22nd.

JMG, Apprenticeship Week, and the Union Carpenters and Millwrights Training Center

Students sit with their backs to the camera in a classroom setting while a man stands up in front of the room and gives a presentation.

During National Apprenticeship Week, UPward Talent Council – Michigan Works! employees coordinated a tour of the new Union Carpenters and Millwrights Training Center in Negaunee, MI Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) students.

Students took advantage of the opportunity and spoke with career tradespeople about their career path, employment, and training opportunities.

Thank you to Ron from Michigan Works! and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights for coordinating this informative event for JMG students.

For more information about apprenticeships, please visit

National Apprenticeship Week 2019, Continued

DeJian stands with his hands held together in front of his stomach. He is standing in front of a green tool chest while wearing safety glasses and a hard hat.

DeJian – IBEW 906 Electrician Apprentice

ESCANABA, MI – Sometimes, people struggle to find their niche. Other times, they find what seems to be their destiny.

DeJian, an Apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 906 and B&B Electric, is on his way to becoming a full-fledged Journeyman Electrician. A five-year Apprentice, DeJian enjoyed his time learning the ropes from veteran Electricians and reflected upon the journey that brought him here.

“I was a machinist for multiple years…other than that, college, and I was in the National Guard,” said DeJian. “I held an Interior Electrician MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) in the National Guard. It was one of the MOS’s that I had.”

In the National Guard, DeJian gained hands-on experience as an Electrician. It wasn’t quite the residential and industrial projects he is accustomed to now, though.

“Hop on a chopper, fly out somewhere and take pictures, look at everything, get everything ready…knock out the project, go back to our main FOB (Forward Operating Base),” explained DeJian. “We did an ICU for the Jordanian military. That was pretty cool.”

His military experience wasn’t the only influencing factor on his decision, though. Interest in this career path ran in DeJian’s family.

“I enjoyed electrical work. My father was an Electrician at one point, too,” said DeJian.

When asked about the experiences he gained while watching his father work, DeJian remembered the times fondly.

“I did get to watch him quite a bit…get to watch him work. Do things like that. It was always enjoyable,” DeJian said with a smile.

In 2019, the hard work DeJian put in, and the experience he gained, paid off. He was selected as the Upper Peninsula Apprentice of the Year. He reflected on what the award meant to him.

“It’s solidification for you that you are doing a good job, and that somebody valued you and saw your effort. It helped things to come full circle to a certain extent.”

DeJian, now coming to the end of his apprenticeship, stated that he would encourage people to follow his lead and learn more about their opportunities in an apprenticeship.

“There’s no harm in going in and talking to somebody…the only thing at the end of the day you’re walking away from is a possible career.”

If you’re interested in an apprenticeship in the skilled trades, visit your local Michigan Works! American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula or contact Holly Peoples at She, along with other helpful Michigan Works! staff members, will assist you in finding your path.

Please visit to find more information about hours of operation and locations of Michigan Works! American Job Centers in the Upper Peninsula.

National Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of apprentices and the organizations that support them. Find out more about an apprenticeship during this year’s celebration, November 11th through the 17th.

National Apprenticeship Week

Flyer advertising National Apprenticeship Week. It reads: Michigan Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week. November 11th through the 17th. To learn more, visit Michigan Apprenticeships, Experience Sooner.

November 11th-17th, 2019

National Apprenticeship Week is a week-long celebration geared towards raising awareness for apprenticeship-based training programs throughout Michigan and the country as a whole.

Earn while you learn in an apprenticeship! If you’re interested in learning more about apprenticeships and their potential, please visit

If you want to know more about apprenticeships from those who have been through them, please see the interviews with Erin and Dejian in our Blog Archive.