Immanual Jackson, a full-time medical student and new father of twin boys, faced significant challenges when his wife couldn’t work, making him the primary income provider. In December 2021, Immanual and his wife sought assistance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and were enrolled in the Partnership.Accountability.Training.Hope. (PATH) program, facilitated by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).
PATH is designed to equip participants with the skills and resources needed to secure and maintain employment, increase earnings, and achieve self-sufficiency. Administered locally through Michigan Works! Service Centers, the program offers virtual services, accommodating individuals like Immanual with limited free time.
Immanual expressed gratitude, stating, “Michigan Works! staff provided virtual services and even delivered supplies to our home when we couldn’t go out with the boys.” Beyond job training, PATH connected Immanual with community resources, assisting with needs for his newborns and covering the cost of scrubs for his clinical rounds.
Most PATH participants face barriers such as transportation issues, job search skills, work attire expenses, and childcare concerns. On completion of the program, participants, on average, earn $2,000 more annually than their peers.
Susan Corbin, LEO Director, highlighted the impact of PATH, stating, “Michigan’s PATH initiative exemplifies the state’s collaborative efforts across departments to guide Michiganders toward promising careers and provide businesses with the skilled workforce they need to succeed.”
MDHHS and LEO collaborate to address the holistic needs of PATH participants. While LEO focuses on job readiness and resources, MDHHS provides health and well-being services for participants and their families.
Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS Director, emphasized the synergy, stating, “LEO focuses on helping PATH participants get back to work, MDHHS can work to provide benefits such as food assistance, health care and more.”
In the fiscal year 2023, PATH supported over 8,000 individuals in Michigan, with more than half successfully transitioning from public assistance programs to launching new careers. Stephanie Beckhorn, Director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training, noted the personalized approach of PATH, stating, “Programs like PATH allow us to work with each participant individually to identify the types of supports needed and connect them to the right resources.”
Highlighting the program’s success, Immanual, now a resident physician at the University of Michigan Health-West, received financial assistance for his medical board exam. The PATH program continues to uplift Michiganders, fostering a brighter and more prosperous future for individuals and the state’s economy.