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Sometimes It Takes a Village

Jillian Otten - Monday, May 22, 2017

Emily Williams is a young, single mother from Flint whose life was turned around in 2016.

Through the Genesee/Shiawassee/Thumb Michigan Works! Agency, Emily was carefully screened and approved for an eight-week Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWT) through generous funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The ECWT Program is an apprenticeship readiness program specifically designed for the Genesee County Water Treatment environmental demands. She passed with flying colors and was accepted into the MI BAC Local 2 Refractory Bricklaying Apprenticeship program and went straight to work making $23.50 per hour plus health care and pension benefits.

Emily has worked steadily for ResCo Products on Zug Island, a manmade island located where the Rouge River flows into the Detroit River, enabling her to upgrade her living conditions for herself and her son. Because of the specialized environmental training through the ECWT Program, Emily has become a Confined Space Supervisor on special hazardous tasks.

Recently, however, Emily’s car was breaking down making it difficult to drive an hour to work and two hours back with construction traffic-- every day. So help came from her Father who loaned her a car so she could continue to go to work and continue in her apprenticeship program as well. Unfortunately, the transmission on the car gave out!

Next help came in a form of a grant from the Lansing Chapter of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Tradeswomen Apprenticeship Grant. The grant award of $500 took care of most of the cost to replace the bearings on Emily’s car with a few checks from supportive villagers -- or in this case, construction community representatives -- and now her car is roadworthy.

Today, Emily is right back at work earning a paycheck and work hours toward completion of apprenticeship program requirements. Emily says, “I keep telling my Mom this career is the best thing that’s happened to me. I know she probably gets sick of hearing it”.

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