Muskegon County resident finds successful path thanks to West Michigan Works! services, support

Less than two years ago, Hunter Daniels was unemployed with no direction or plan for the future. 

Today, the Twin Lake resident is a driven and energetic young man, eager for personal growth. Daniels’ life direction changed when his family connected him with West Michigan Works!, where he received supportive services to resolve transportation issues and worked with a career coach on developing employability skills.

“The West Michigan Works! Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates program has made an enormous difference for me. If it wasn’t for Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Daniels. “I am employed with two jobs, a certified CNA and becoming self-sufficient and career-bound. I am confident in myself and my future because of Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates. I was a kid with a dream; now I am a kid with a plan.”

Daniels is among talent development and employment successes celebrated at the Michigan Works! Association Impact Awards on March 31. 

Taking advantage of opportunities

Local lawmakers and statewide talent development officials gathered virtually to recognize Daniels, Sanctuary at McAuley, and West Michigan Works! for aiding frontline workers with the training needed to be successful in a high-demand career field.

After receiving career services from West Michigan Works!, Daniels gained confidence and obtained employment in the produce department at Meijer. While employed at Meijer, he continued taking advantage of every available West Michigan Works! leadership development opportunity. He participated in West Michigan Works! Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates workshops, talent tours, and community service projects, and continued to meet with his career coach.

After receiving a West Michigan Works! training scholarship to attend Muskegon Community College, Daniels earned his CNA certificate. His hard work and dedication were recognized as Daniels was named valedictorian of his CNA class.

Upon graduation, Daniels obtained employment with the Muskegon-based health system Sanctuary at McAuley, a Trinity Health/Mercy Health division. Daniels helped Sanctuary at McAuley fill a critical need for CNAs, while the employment, training, and leadership skills that he gained continue to have a tremendous impact on his life.

Futures for Frontliners Scholarship recipient

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued his employment at both Meijer and Sanctuary at McAuley. Because of his service, Daniels is a proud recipient of a Futures for Frontliners Scholarship at West Shore Community College, a step he hopes will help him fulfill his dream of obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
Hunter Daniels at his CNA graduation.
“Congratulations to Hunter on winning this prestigious award,” says state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores. “Hunter’s dedication and pursuit of a career to create a better life for him and others is an inspiring story. He used the resources available to him through West Michigan Works! And now has a rewarding careering in front of him.”

The Impact Awards, hosted by Michigan Works! Association, recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state.

“The partnership West Michigan Works! has with its community partners is key to assisting residents in achieving their career goals,” says state Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “No barrier is insurmountable for West Michigan Works!. The dedication West Michigan Works! has for helping our residents overcome significant barriers makes them a huge asset to our  community.”

Statewide honors

Award winners included employers, workers, Michigan Works! organizations, and partners from across the state.
Hunter Daniels at work at the Muskegon-based health system Sanctuary at McAuley, a Trinity Health/Mercy Health division.
“Certified Nursing Assistants are in high demand across our state,” says state Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Laketon Township. “The CNA program offered through Muskegon Community College coupled with the ITA Scholarship offered by West Michigan Works! not only helps get individuals working quickly, but also puts them on a path to a career opportunity in health care. Congratulations to everyone receiving this prestigious award today.”

The Michigan Works! Association is a nonprofit membership organization that provides services and support to Michigan’s talent ecosystem. For more than 30 years, the association has been the go-to resource for federal, state, and local workforce initiatives.

The Michigan Works! Association’s work ensures top-quality services and support for Michigan’s talent pipeline. For more information, please visit michiganworks.org or call 1-800-285-WORKS (9675).

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.

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