It Pays to Get Your Diploma – A Success Story

Briana stands with her instructor in front of a sign while holding her certificate.

We met Briana during a Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates session at the Escanaba Student Success Center where she was studying to finish her high school diploma through an alternative route. Briana was a former high school dropout and parenting youth who decided she needed to make a good life for her son. After hearing about programs and services she could receive through U.P. Michigan Works! (UPMW) and the Job for Michigan’s Graduates program, Briana set up an appointment to work one-on-one with a Talent Specialist.  

Briana showed determination and had a goal of completing her diploma and finding work as soon as possible. Briana contemplated the option of going to college, but being a single parent, Briana wanted to get in the workforce as quickly as she could after her graduation. After researching Labor Market Information and doing an O*Net Interest Profiler, Briana decided that she would love a career driving truck and wanted to obtain her Class A CDL like both of her brothers had in the past. On the condition that Briana completed her diploma, UPMW would assist her with the training process. 

Briana graduated at the top of her class in May and was asked to give a graduation speech in their virtual graduation ceremony. As promised, UPMW was able to tap a local training provider, Midwest Truck Driving School (MTDS), to get Briana on track for her career. Briana successfully completed training and earned her Class A CDL on July 24th, 2020. “Briana was most definitely in the top of her class with being the only female of 12 students! She came to class every day ready to learn! She was self-motivated and took in every bit of the class she could. What was really special was that both her older brothers had come through the school within the past three years. Since then one has passed away. I know that was extremely hard on her; what it did do for her, though, was give her the internal motivation to make her brothers proud!” said a representative from MTDS.  

Briana has a conditional job offer with FedEx in Delta County along with interest from other companies in the area. She is now on her way to a career path of success due to the braiding of services between UPMW and MTDS.   

When asked about her participation with JMG and U.P. Michigan Works!, Briana said “I am very thankful to U.P. Michigan Works! and the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program for all the support they have so kindly given me. The help I’ve received has allowed me to overcome obstacles in my life. UP Michigan Works! and JMG are great programs and because of their help, I have earned my high school diploma and obtained my Class A CDL through Midwest Truck Driving School. I will forever be grateful to these wonderful programs and all the people in them!”  

Briana’s JMG and Youth Program Specialist with UPMW, Cortney Martin said of Briana, “She has so much grit and determination! She worked very hard to achieve her goals, participated in activities, and communicated with me every step of the way. I am so proud of all the accomplishments that Briana has achieved over this last year and I can’t wait to see what she does next!” 

Click the following link for more information about U.P. Michigan Works! job seeker services.