Robin Wilson-Burrows of Lawrence ‘Alumna of Year’Published 10:15am Thursday, February 11, 2010
BENTON HARBOR – Every year, each of the 25 statewide Michigan Works! organizations honor one particularly successful jobseeker who has worked hard to improve his or her life through training, education and career advancement.
Out of almost 30,000 jobseekers served by Michigan Works! last year, Robin Burrows-Wilson, a Lawrence resident, stood out from the crowd with her ambition and perseverance.
On Jan. 26, she traveled to Lansing to tell her story and to receive recognition from state legislators and other dignitaries.
Cass County’s state Sen. Ron Jelinek attended to present the award on behalf of Reps. Tonya Schuitmaker and John Proos.
“Michigan Works! connects people with training and job opportunities in our community” said Proos R-St. Joseph. “Robin took the next step in advancing her career by seeking out Michigan Works! services.”
“Robin is a great example of how a person can move up her respective career ladder with additional training,” explained Todd Gustafson, executive director of Michigan Works!. “We have a tremendous need for skilled health care workers in this region. Our goal is to educate current workers for higher skilled jobs, therefore opening up entry-level positions. This will provide a talented pipeline of applicants for our area’s employers.”
Robin had been employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Dowagiac Nursing Home for four years when it abruptly closed in 2007.
She enjoyed working in health care, but had always wanted to advance her skills and earn a higher salary.
Although losing her job was a shock, it was also the perfect opportunity to reach her goals.
Robin turned to Michigan Works! for help in August 2007 and was one of the first jobseekers to take advantage of the No Worker Left Behind college scholarship program.
The scholarship paid for the tuition and supplies required for Southwestern Michigan College’s Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) training program.
Although Robin brought a lot of experience to the classroom, the coursework was academically challenging.
In addition to her medical curriculum, she had to take rigorous computer classes and had never turned on a computer.
She had to balance her studies with her family commitments, which was no small task while raising her four young children.
Nevertheless, she graduated in August 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science.
Robin passed her state certification exam with flying colors and wasted no time in putting her new skills to work as an LPN for Countryside Nursing Home in South Haven.
“I love my job and am grateful to Michigan Works! for helping me to advance my career and improve my life,” exclaimed Robin.
She plans to continue her education later this year and eventually earn her BSN.
Michigan Works! is a non-profit, workforce development organization providing the skilled workforce necessary to meet the needs of employers.
The organization offers free services to employers and jobseekers and has locations in Dowagiac (N. Front Street in North Pointe Center), Benton Harbor, Bertrand Crossing, Buchanan, Niles, Paw Paw and South Haven.
For more information, call 1-800-533-5800 or visit www.miworks.org.