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Featured Veteran Stories
VES Success Stories
Marine veteran's triumphant transition in the workforce
U.S. Marine Corps veteran and an active member of the Army National Guard, Lane Mathew's story isn't just about service to the country; it's about the relentless pursuit of a fulfilling career after the military.
Lane's ten years of combined service in the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard are a testament to his unwavering commitment. After serving as military police, he took his dedication to the streets of West Branch as a police officer. However, Lane knew his journey didn't end there.
Seeking a new career path, Lane visited Michigan Works! Region 7B where an Employment Services Specialist who connected him with Veterans' Career Advisor Bridget Baker.
Bridget was more than an advisor; she was Lane’s guiding force during this period of his life. She delved deep into Lane's experiences, helping him see the value his military and policing skills bring to the civilian job market. Together, they revamped his resume, turning his military and law enforcement experiences into compelling narratives for potential employers.
The collaboration paid off. Lane landed a role that seemed tailor-made for him - Apprenticeship Coordinator. In this role, Lane isn't just bridging gaps between veterans and the workforce, he's creating pathways. He's now at the forefront, establishing Registered Apprenticeships with local businesses, helping others find their way just as he did. His role also allows veterans to utilize their GI Bill benefits, bringing opportunities closer to home.
In his new position, Lane serves as the vital link between the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship and employers across multiple counties. He's not just a coordinator; he's a catalyst for change, a veteran helping veterans’ transition smoothly into civilian life.
Michigan Works! and VES Staff Help Retired Veteran Find Perfect Job
U.S. Navy veteran Ammie, who served for 21 years, faced unique challenges aligning her skill set with employment opportunities in Ogemaw County after retiring from the military. Ammie stopped by her local Michigan Works! Service Center to get support.
There, and Employment Services Specialist connected her to West Branch-based Veterans’ Career Advisor Bridget Baker. Bridget helped Ammie identify industries and companies where her skills could be effectively utilized. Their discussions covered various aspects including Michigan Works! opportunities, interview questions, and bridging the gap between her military experience and prospective employers.
Additionally, they collaborated on updating her resume, fine-tuning online job search techniques and conducted mock interview sessions to better prepare her for actual interviews.
Working closely with Bridget and the Local Veterans’ Employment Representative Pat Muoio, Ammie successfully secured a position as a Career Navigator at Ogemaw Heights High School through Michigan Works! Region 7B. She was able to lean on her previous experience of managint the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Scholarship Program for the Navy.
VES provides disabled veteran resources to help her find a job
Sabrina, who is a disabled Army National Guard veteran, visited her local Michigan Works! Service Center when she became unemployed earlier this year. With the help of Michigan Works! staff, Sabrina was connected with Veterans' Career Advisor (VCA) Paul Burke when she let staff know she is a veteran.
After determining the best way to serve Sabrina, VCA Paul provided her with information about various resources she could benefit from, including FAFSA, E-Benefits resources, Registered Apprenticeship programs, and Pure Michigan Talent Connect (MiTalent.org) for her job search needs.
Together, they also worked to update Sabrina's resume and practice interview skills. Then they worked together to explore local opportunities. Within a few weeks, Sabrina had applied to a position she was interested in at Travel Lodge, interviewed for the opportunity, and was offered the job!
And to ensure her needs were being met, her local Michigan Works! was able to provide her with financial assistance to help her get to work until she received her first paycheck.
VES staff help veteran prepare for and find a job
Katherine, a military veteran with extensive years of service, faced unique challenges as she sought to align her skill set with potential employment opportunities. To navigate this transition, she reached out to Matthew Mendez, a Southfield-based Veterans’ Career Advisor.
Matthew helped Katherine identify industries and companies where her skills could be effectively utilized. Their discussions covered various aspects, including addressing her age, handling interview questions, and bridging the gap between her military experience and prospective employers. They also explored strategies for navigating potential scenarios where a much younger generation might be her supervisor.
Matthew and Katherine also worked on updating her resume, fine-tuning online job search techniques, and conducting mock interview sessions to better prepare her for actual interviews. Working closely with Matthew and program partner Javone Bane from Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Katherine successfully secured a position as an Administrative Assistant at JML Adjusting Services, with a competitive wage.
Katherine expressed her deep gratitude to Veterans' Employment Services and all those involved for their unwavering support in securing her financial future.
VES helps Marine veteran successfully transition to civilian life
Before completing his service with the U.S. Marine Corps, Nathan Murray successfully completed a DOD Skills Bridge program in welding and obtained multiple welding certificates.
When Nathan was ready to find a new job, he started at his local Michigan Works! in Marquette. There he connected with Talent Specialist Danielle Mickelson who, after finding out Nathan was a veteran, connected him with the appropriate resources.
Danielle explained the comprehensive range of career services available, including career planning through the Jobs for Veterans State Grant. She facilitated the completion of a Military Service Questionnaire and ensured seamless communication with Veterans' Career Advisor (VCA) Aaron Lindholm.
Under VCA Lindholm's expert guidance, Nathan not only received comprehensive job search training but also benefited from resume refinement, resulting in his job-ready status. Following this preparation, he was referred to Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) Kendal Kettle for dual case management. Both VES staff members embraced a people-centered approach to provide Nathan with tailored and effective supportive services, ensuring his path to success.
Nathan diligently submitted multiple job applications and successfully secured interviews with various employers. Throughout each interview process, LVER Kettle proactively advocated for him. Ultimately, Nathan received an official offer for a production technician position at Superior Extrusion. A few weeks later, Nathan accepted an additional role as a general worker at K2 Insulation, which is closer to his home and allows him to work the day shift.
Thanks to the seamless teamwork between Michigan Works! and VES staff, Nathan secured meaningful and suitable employment. His new positions not only align with his desired schedule and income expectations but also serve as a supportive bridge for his transition from military service to a fulfilling role in the civilian workforce.
VES partners with Peckham to place veterans into careers
Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) Fred Pittman partnered with Veteran Services Specialist Matt Urhammer from Peckham, Inc. in February 2023 to help Peckham fill their job openings with veteran talent.
Shortly afterward, LVER Pittman was receiving regular job updates that he passed along to the rest of the VES staff. So when Veterans' Career Advisor (VCA) Rayetta Wyatt verified that veteran James Shotwell was job ready, she quickly referred him to LVER Pittman. Guided by Pittman, James expressed interest in the Millett Forklift Operator position at Peckham, Inc. and successfully secured the job in Lansing.
Matt's commitment to advocating for veterans was evident throughout the process, and LVER Pittman believed Peckham, Inc. deserved recognition for their support. As a result, LVER Pittman presented a well-deserved Certificate of Appreciation from VES to Matt and Director of Workforce Planning, Alex Modlin, in Lansing. The event was also attended by Lansing-based VCA Deb Bohanon.
VES is proud of this strong partnership is thankful for Peckham, Inc.'s continuous support in hiring and supporting Michigan veterans. The partnership between Peckham and VES promises a brighter future for veterans.
VES Staff Help Veteran Land Job 15 Days Into Job Search
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Avery Bielen stopped by U.P. Michigan Works! for support on his job search. Once he was identified as a veteran, Talent Specialist Andrew Bowe provided him with priority of service and determined that he was eligible for Veterans' Employment Services (VES).
Andrew introduced Avery to Veterans' Career Advisor William Mourufas, and together they completed a person-centered comprehensive assessment and created an action plan to help Avery reach his employment goals. After working together on Avery's resume and improving his job search skills, Avery quickly began receiving calls or interviews.
Avery participated in several interviews, and after careful consideration, he eventually accepted a position as a Customer Service Manager with a newly opened U-Haul business in Sault Ste. Marie that offered paid training and significant opportunities for growth.
Despite the challenges of a complicated and competitive job market in rural areas, Avery's determination allowed him to secure gainful employment just fifteen days after entering case management with VES. He is extremely satisfied with his new job and appreciative of the efforts made by VES to protect and enhance his health, safety, and economic security.
VES Helps Navy Veteran Land Multiple Job Offers
Navy veteran Trisha Bednarczk successfully completed her master's degree in project management through the Veteran Readiness and Employment program. She was referred to Veterans’ Career Advisor (VCA) Paul Burke for assistance finding a job.
Together, Trisha and VCA Burke developed a targeted employment plan that included crafting a tailored resume. Once Trisha was job ready, VCA Burke referred her to Local Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) Kendal Kettle.
Trisha actively applied for job referrals provided by LVER Kettle and maintained regular communication with both her and VCA Burke regarding her applications. At the same time, LVER Kettle advocated for Trisha with employers, resulting in her being offered interviews for the five positions she applied for!
After completing all five interviews, Trisha received immediate job offers for three of them. Ultimately, she decided to accept the Project Manager position at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, which was a perfect fit for her recently completed degree and offered her a competitive wage.
Throughout the process, VCA Burke and LVER Kettle employed a people-centered approach to Trisha's case, leading to multiple interview opportunities. Additionally, they provided Trisha with thorough interview skills training, significantly enhancing her chances of securing a position.
Trisha expresses deep appreciation for the assistance she received from VES and is thrilled about her new employment opportunity.
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.