Heather sits as a desk with her hands on the desk in front of her.

Long, Postponed Career, or A Yooper Abroad – A Success Story

Read on to see how Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! helped Heather get ready to win!

Heather was a hotel housekeeper for years, supporting and caring for her mother while living with her in her childhood home. During those years, Heather earned an online degree in cybersecurity, but she stayed in her position as a housekeeper. When the hotel closed, Heather wanted to try for her first job in Information Technology (IT) even though her degree was earned seven years ago.  

Heather asked us for help and was eligible for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) program, so we completed the paperwork to have her enrolled in the program. As a client, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! (UPMW) coached her on everything she might encounter, including career building, relocating, bad landlords, and working with difficult coworkers. She learned to reframe her skill set, display confidence, and plan for relocation with thorough housing research. Because there were few, if any, openings for entry-level IT work locally, Heather looked far and wide. She received rejections, but she persevered.  

UPMW helped with transportation funds to go downstate for a second interview. Heather did great in the interview, and she was offered a position, which she accepted. It was an entry-level IT job at a Cheboygan, Michigan bank. She did not have the resources to move, so UPMW assisted with her first month’s rent and the funds for the drive downstate. Heather had never lived away from home before, so she had to learn how to hunt for rentals and move her life from one place to another. She applied her usual diligence and honesty to her work, learning to deal successfully with co-workers and impressing the bank officers who praised her to her manager. Heather says the recognition is, “very exciting,” but, “I don’t know what to do with it.” 

Heather reports, “I am now the department head of fraud anomaly detection,” and she is now earning a livable wage, loves her new rental, and is able to visit her mother every few months. 

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