Michigan Works! West Central recently honored Sand Lake resident Kevin Stoner, for upgrading his skills and entering a new profession after a car accident left him unable to do his job.
The 2012 Michigan Works! Alumni Celebration highlighted recent hiring and employment successes achieved across Michigan through the “demand-driven employment strategy” laid out last year by Governor Snyder.
Stoner and his employer, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, were recognized in Lansing by lawmakers and state workforce development officials alongside 24 other companies and individuals. The event, held at the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing, highlights the achievements of local job makers and 25 individuals who displayed an ability to upgrade their skills and transition into new high-demand occupations and industries including manufacturing, health care, information technology, criminal justice and more.
Stoner, formerly of Reed City, came to Michigan Works! West Central in 2009 after he had been severely injured in a car accident and could no longer perform the work he’d been doing for the last 13 years as a concrete finisher. He knew that in order to provide for his family, he needed to find a new career path. He researched his options and went with what he had a passion for, which was helping amputees.
“I have 10 years personal experience with the life and limitations of an amputee, as my wife is a below the knee amputee. Because of my love for her, I was determined to learn and get the education needed to become an orthotic and prosthetic technician,” said Stoner.
In February 2010, Stoner volunteered at a prosthetics company in Kalamazoo as an understudy to learn general design and fabrication of lower extremity prosthetics from start to finish. Stoner received mileage reimbursement for his travels to Kalamazoo for some time until funding was exhausted through No Worker Left Behind. But this didn’t stop him from finishing his training. Neither did surgery on his injured shoulder due to the injuries he sustained in his car accident.
“Michigan Works! West Central works each and every day to assist job seekers and to help them find a career, not just a job,” said Michelle Herron, business services director. “We are focusing on a demand-driven employment strategy that connects employers with the skilled workers they need while preparing job seekers for the careers of tomorrow.”
In addition to providing Stoner with mileage reimbursement, Michigan Works! helped him obtain work attire as well as relocation assistance to move closer to his job in Grand Rapids.
“Everything just came together for me,” Stoner added. “Everyone at Michigan Works! West Central went out of their way to support me and help me achieve my goals.”
Governor Snyder recognized the strength and importance of Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Centers during his recent special message on workforce development. The Michigan Works! System has more than 100 Service Centers in cities across Michigan, and each offers a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of local businesses and assist those seeking employment.