Ben sits behind a computer in shorts and a red polo as he poses for a picture.

Young Go-Getter – A Success Story

This story is a part of Upper Peninsula Michigan Works’ Success Story series

Ben was a 15-year-old high school student voluntarily expanding his education by participating in a summer youth program at Michigan Tech when he got word of a work-based learning (WBL)  opportunity in Information Technology (IT) at his local high school. The school superintendent was happy to work with Ben, and connected Ben with a Michigan Works! Training Specialist.

Ben turned 16 the day before his Monday enrollment meeting. Ben arrived with his single father and little brother for support, ready to pursue his career plans in technology. Because of Ben’s tight schedule with the MTU Summer Youth program and the IT WBL starting so quickly, it was a challenge to complete Ben’s enrollment and WBL contract quickly. The Michigan Works! Training and Talent Specialist worked closely to get Ben enrolled in 3 business days.

The following Wednesday, Ben was completing his first full-time workday in IT and earning a fair starting wage. He spent the rest of the summer learning from the computer experts at the Regional Educational Media Center (REMC), who manages the school’s computers.

By his first timecard, Ben already received rave reviews from his employers: “We rely on Ben to work independently and he’s done a great job so far,” and, “Ben accepts constructive criticism enthusiastically and does his tasks as requested.”

Ben completed his summer work and has now started his sophomore year in high school. He says of the experience, “I think the experience that I got from the job was very useful and even today I have been asked a tech question at the school which I did get to help with. The people that I worked with, mostly from REMC, were very nice and helpful to me so I think it was a good work environment that I would go into again if I had the opportunity. Overall, I thought that it was a good job and that I learned a lot about what it is like to work, and what it is like to work in an IT job.”

For more information about Michigan Works! programs and services, and how you can become a Success Story like Ben, please visit an American Job Center in the Upper Peninsula.