Remaining Focused on the Future Despite Unexpected Roadblocks

Alexis Flanders has the kind of future-focused motivation the world needs right now. Having worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) since 2017, Flanders never had difficulty finding work – until the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, Flanders enrolled in the Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope. (PATH) program at Michigan Works! Southwest’s Kalamazoo service center.

The primary goal of PATH is to identify barriers and help individuals connect to the resources they need to obtain employment.  From childcare to transportation and literacy, there is a slew of barriers that can keep families from achieving self-sufficiency. PATH participants take part in a robust, results-oriented work participation program featuring a 21-day assessment period during which barriers to employment are identified and caseworkers work individually with clients to connect them with resources to address these barriers.

After being let go from her job due to the pandemic, Flanders found herself a single mother of a two-year-old needing assistance to get back on her feet. No matter how motivated one is, a global pandemic has the power to knock you right off the track.

Luckily for Flanders, she had the support of her parents and career coach at Michigan Works! Southwest.

“My parents have been very supportive of me, and I just want to do the same for my daughter,” Flanders said. “And [my career coach] has been very supportive and very willing to help out with everything to get me back on the path to success.”

Flanders remained motivated and took on an active role. She found a job listing for a CNA position online, applied the same day, and received an interview invitation the following morning; she was hired on-the-spot at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo.

Through the PATH program, Flanders received new work attire and financial assistance for mileage used traveling to and from her new job. This opportunity brings a critical paycheck to Flanders’ life in addition to something priceless.

Having a secure job will help Flanders “be there mentally, physically and emotionally” for her daughter. Now, she doesn’t have to worry about giving her daughter the support she needs.

Flanders isn’t losing focus on her long-term goals. Though she loves being a CNA, her heart is calling her to an admirable pediatric nursing specialty.

“I want to try to get into Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and work with kids who don’t have much time left,” Flanders said. “I want to give them a bubbly, fun life before they go. That’s my dream job – to be there and love the children when their family members can’t be there.”

PATH program staff dedicate their lives to helping people, and when those people go on to help others, it makes the work that much more rewarding. If you or someone you know could benefit from the PATH program, please contact the Michigan Works! Southwest service center nearest you.