Labor and Economic Opportunity
Sometimes it just all comes together – and that’s exactly what happened when a family that had relocated to Michigan found themselves without jobs or the resources to find them. Fortunately, they reached out to Veterans Employment Services, and that started a team effort that concluded with all three family members securing employment.
Veteran James Hudson contacted Veterans Career Advisor Ken Rapleje who did an initial assessment and coordinated activities with the rest of the team. Ken provided much-needed information, direction and encouragement, assisting with interview preparation and identifying potential employment options. In the end, James landed a job that was an excellent fit for his skills and interest.
At the same time, the VES team assisted with all the paperwork needed to enroll James in the veteran's financial assistance program. They also worked with James’ wife, Holly, assisting her with her resume and helping to schedule an interview with Great Wolf Lodge, where Holly was ultimately hired. The VES team also assisted James’ son, Austin, helping him get an interview and a job in his field of preference – the auto industry.
Ken and the VES team’s patience, understanding and commitment to their clients make a very real difference in the lives of veterans and their family members. And thanks to their efforts, James, Holly and Austin all have jobs, new hope and enthusiasm to make their stay in Michigan the best it can be.
Here is a “thank you letter” James wrote to express his appreciation for the services he and his family received from Veterans’ Employment Services:
I am writing to say thank you for all of the efforts and hard work these three have put in to make our lives better.
We moved to Michigan from Rawlins, Wyoming; I had a job that was temp to hire that left me in a bad spot when they let me go suddenly in August of this year. I searched for jobs for two weeks or so prior to applying for any assistance, unemployment and such because I just wanted to work. I didn't want handouts and freebies.
After being unsuccessful for those weeks after putting in almost 30 resumes to jobs, I decided to call and ask for the Veterans representative. Ken Rapleje called back almost immediately… He helped me get my resume updated, he contacted numerous people in hopes of just getting something started while we looked for "THE JOB".
He also got me in contact with Dani Horvath, so that she could start assisting my wife Holly who had also put in literally 50 plus resumes since arriving in May to no avail. Again, Dani started working for us immediately, assisting us with resumes for Holly, helping get a representative (Mariah Janiga) for my son Austin, and working on paperwork for assistance programs your company provides to those seeking employment.
Ken made calls to people on behalf of my son simply because I was a veteran and he wanted to truly help a veteran in need. That ended up producing a job in the auto industry for my son who was seeking exactly that type of work. Ken could have easily just pushed any job off on my son as he is 18 and just getting started in the world, but Ken took time to care about what Austin truly wanted to do, and worked to get him into that specifically.
Ken also took time out of many days just to talk to me, keep me encouraged, check in with interviews and job ideas as we looked for something for me. While I ended up getting a job, through luck and good timing that met exactly the needs I had for a job, I have Ken to thank because he also assisted me in getting ready to answer questions at interviews that I know I did poorly on in the past. I truly believe if not for Ken, I still would be looking for a job.
Dani worked in the background while all this was happening to assist with all the paperwork needed for the veteran's financial assistance program that has assisted us with gas cards, new clothes (I haven't had new clothes in literally 3 years), new shoes (I hadn't been able to buy new shoes in years as well). She also spoke with Holly often, assisted her with her resume, and met with people behind the scenes to push for an interview with the Great Wolf Lodge… She also worked hard to get us assistance with gas and insurance payments for our vehicles (we were on the verge of losing insurance). She has been patient and tolerant of me being needy and impatient, and has been full of grace while doing so!
Mariah has been awesome for Austin as well, getting him clothes, shoes and other assistance. She personally made a trip to our house to get papers signed and also some paperwork for my needs as well.
They have given a bright light at the end of a tunnel that was getting dark very fast. We were down to 5 dollars and no hope, now we all have jobs, new hope and enthusiasm to make this stay in Michigan work. I cannot thank these three people and Michigan Works enough for their dedication to our family and they didn't even know us!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of the things you have done for us.
Veterans in need of employment assistance should contact the nearest Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center by calling 800-285-WORKS (9675), or visiting MichiganWorks.org. They should identify themselves as a veteran when they call.
More information about Veterans’ Employment Services is available at Michigan.gov/VES.