A Short Michigan Works Tale

Approximately a year ago I was unemployed but searching for work in every means possible. Careerbuilder was heavily used but returned dismal results for months. Plenty of non-native english speakers were maxing out my voicemail with promises of work if I just gave them my social security number and plenty of other pertinent info without a real job description. Monster works excellently… if you want to work in the Insurance field. Dice seemed to be filled with positions that I was not qualified for at the time. Searching employer sites directly, researching positions and faxing my resume and cover letters to HR departments seemed to be the most effective method. It seemed that I received the most “real” calls and interviews at that time due to that method. It’s not a surefire way to receive the attention of an employer but if you’re going to apply why not let them know that you’re serious?

It was with a combination of increased desperation and will to work that I started to use publicly available services. I’d never had good luck with staffing firms before but I was told that Michigan Works aids with placement, is free and serious about getting people employed. I received my current position due to an application submitted through Careerbuilder (ay, it does work!) but I would not have had the opportunity to apply for it without Michigan Works. They offered solid resume critiquing, provided bus tickets for transportation to my interview and even to work whenever I needed them. They also provide free internet access and have access to local jobs that may not be made publicly available online or in person. My case worker even called a few places to set up interviews for me, it was a great experience. It helped to provide me with the support and confidence needed to continue searching for employment. There was just one part of this great resource that didn’t rub me right.

At the Michigan Works facilities you’re allowed to print job ads and resumes from their computers and nothing else. There is a person on duty at each site that reads every printed document and separates them before anything can be claimed. I needed to print the job offer for my current position and fax it back with my signature to accept it. Yep, as you may have guessed it the person on duty would not allow me to take the document. It was unbelievable and very infuriating, it took every ounce of willpower in my body to maintain a straight face and speak in a polite tone that maintained respect. It ended with us needing to contact the lab administrator/supervisor. He read the offer, looked at the woman that refused to hand it to me with a puzzled look on his face and told her that it was fine for this type of document to be printed in the lab. I don’t know if it was a lapse of training or just that persons “off” day but it came pretty close to souring my experience with the program. I really hope that she hasn’t prevented others from accepting job opportunities.

I was and am still extremely grateful to all of the free and helpful resources for finding jobs, especially the state funded Michigan Works. Their lab did not restrict me to crappy computers that could not complete job applications while placing an hour or less time limit on computer usage. That often happens with the computers at the public libraries that must be shared with people that are just looking music lyrics or something else that feels extremely arbitrary in comparison to providing a means to care for yourself. The atmosphere is also different at the Michigan Works facilities, everyone there is working towards a common goal of finding employment. Whether it’s to find a job or a better job you have peers there that are focused and plenty of resources in the staff and documents available to anyone that may be seeking a job. I would recommend that anyone within the state, that’s in need, to search for your local Michigan Works branch. It can’t do anything but be a good piece of assistance if you’re still searching for work now.

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