Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


Home · Articles · News · Features · Teaming up for Northern...
. . . .

Teaming up for Northern Michigan Jobs

Eric Pokoyway - August 31st, 2006
Kurston Crawford, a reservation agent at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa has a lot on her mind these days. Married with three sons, she is the primary provider for her family, because, right now, her husband is too sick to work. The Crawford family has some lofty medical bills, and with only a limited hourly-wage they’re impossible to pay.
The problem faced by the Crawford family is widespread throughout the region. The Grand Traverse Bay area has about 13,294 individuals living in poverty, representing eight percent of the population, according to data from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.
Enter Teamwork Northwest (TWNW), a poverty reduction program dedicated to helping employees retain their jobs, provided through Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, Michigan WORKS, and The Department of Human Services. The organization focuses on the “working poor” families whose primary income is less than $25,000 a year. Crystal Mountain Resort is the largest participating business in the program with 55 employees.

FINDING RESOURCES
“Teamwork Northwest put me in touch with a discounted healthcare provider, which gave us considerable savings every month. We were able to use those funds for other things like glasses and braces,” Crawford said.
TWNW acts as a middleman providing employees with an avenue to programs funded by the state of Michigan and other charitable agencies in the Grand Traverse Area.
Crystal Mountain provides a co-pay employee health insurance plan, but for Crawford and her family of five, it was too expensive.
Also with the help of TWNW, Crawford was able to earn a General Education Diploma (GED). “It was always something that I put off and never took the time to do,” she said. “With some encouragement and help it was a push in the right direction.”
Deb Nale and Nancy VanPeeren are the Teamwork Northwest representatives in Benzie County. Two days a week they visit Crystal Mountain, meeting with each employee who wishes to participate in the program.
“We handle the issues that a human resource department can’t legally handle,” Nale said. They have dealt with everything from healthcare to domestic violence,
she added.

GETTING INVOLVED
Nale and VanPeeren have sought mundane things for their clients such as $10 gas cards. They have also sought auto repair assistance amounting to more than $1,000.
“We aren’t just shoveling money at them (Crystal Mountain employees); we help to find the resources they need to overcome their situations,” Nale said. “Folks are willing to help themselves if they are shown how to access the resources that are provided for them.”
“We don’t give them the answers; we focus on supporting the participants and helping them find their own solutions to their own problems,” VanPeeren said.
Nale spoke of another clent who makes about $15 an hour and lives by himself. Nale said he doesn’t exactly fit the “working poor” profile, but he has a substance abuse problem.
“We are getting Michigan Rehabilitative Services, and coordinating with Catholic Human Services to patch together a substance abuse program so he can manage his own treatment,” Nale said. “For some, we are their support system and, hopefully, we help them achieve happier healthier
life-styles.”
TWNW runs lifestyle improvement workshops that are available to all Crystal Mountain employees. The workshops include everything from money management to computer skills and child care services.

TURNOVER COSTS
Most of the participants that enter into the TWNW program have an immediate crisis that needs to be solved quickly, Nale said.
“Once we take care of that immediate crisis, the participants are able to sit back and see where they are and where they want to go,” Nale said.
Losing employees to lifestyle problems can be costly to local businesses.
“Employers tend to overlook the cost of turnover. They think that it’s just something they have to deal with, which is a common misconception,” said Elaine Wood, deputy director of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.
“Employees aren’t always comfortable talking to their employers about these types of issues or it just doesn’t occur to them.”
The minimum cost to a business for employee turnover is 30 percent of the employee’s wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Turnover is the transition from hiring and firing of employees.
“Schools and businesses operate under middle-class norms and if you haven’t grown-up with that it’s difficult to fully understand the business environment,” Wood said.
Costs of excessive turnover are passed along to the customer, and prevent a business from growing and creating more jobs, she added.
TWNW tries to alleviate these problems by working with employees and searching for the correct resources to help them. It’s much more beneficial for the employer to create a lasting relationship with its employees, Wood said.
“For someone who is living in poverty it’s difficult for them to plan for the future. We try to teach them that,” Wood said. “It’s not hard finding jobs for people, but it’s difficult keeping the impoverished in those jobs.”


 
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