In the summer of 2009, William Watson participated in the Michigan Works! Summer Paid Work Experience Program (PWE). He was assigned to work at the Wyandotte Board of Education. He successfully completed his PWE, but he was still unsure about his future career goals and needed to return to school to obtain his high school diploma. He graduated from Southgate Anderson High School in June of 2010.
Over the next couple of years, Will had little motivation and didn’t care about employment and future career goals. Unfortunately, Will also developed an addiction to alcohol and drugs, which contributed to his cavalier attitude about his future. He was unable to think clearly and his self-confidence diminished.
On September 4, 2012, he came to Michigan Works! Southgate Service Center with his dad and inquired about the WIA Youth Program. He was outgoing but lacked self-confidence and a clear sense of direction. He also shared with his Career Development Facilitator (CDF) that he was 60 days into his recovery from substance abuse. In order to help Will decide which career he wanted to pursue, career exploration programs were used to give him an idea of which occupations matched his interests. He decided to pursue machinist training through the Focus: Hope program in Highland Park. Will’s only concern was the long distance he would have to travel and the cost of gas. Through his CDF, he received weekly gas cards.
Will began the 14-week program and quickly realized the intensity of the requirements. There were several classes, many with hands-on experience. The participants were also required to maintain a positive attitude and good attendance. As the program progressed, Will became more excited and eager to attend class and his self-confidence increased. He finally had a positive attitude about his future and developed his own motto, “I can be the top dog!” His CDF could definitely see the change each week when he came in to get his gas cards. After 14 weeks of intense training, Will completed the program and graduated at the top of his class. His class started with 43 students with only 13 successfully completing the program.
Will started employment on Monday, February 18th at Birclar in Romulus, where he is a full-time lathe operator. Over the next several years, he hopes to gain experience and eventually he would like to specialize in CNC machining. He is even showing interest in becoming an entrepreneur and owning his own business.
Will made a 180 degree turn in the short time he was in the youth program. Not only has he achieved employment success, but he has also earned a six-month chip in his substance abuse recovery.
Will’s CDF, Lisa Nagy, said, “I am so proud of all that he has accomplished and I know he has a bright future ahead of him!”