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From dropping out of school to completing GED in less than 6 months

Michigan Works! Supports GED Completion by Out of School Youth

Zemi first came to her Michigan Works! Youth Career Advisor Jeanie Flory as a young adult that wanted to complete her GED. She was unemployed and struggling financially. She knew she needed to make some decisions about how she was going to overcome her barriers.

Jeanie worked one-on-one with Zemi to complete all the paperwork that was required for the WIOA Youth program, so that Michigan Works! could cover the costs of the GED pre-tests and completion test. Zemi was shy and hesitant at first and needed direction on what she needed to do, but Jeanie was patient with her and they had many appointments together to make sure everything was on track.

Zemi had a goal to complete her GED within 6 months. She was able to complete and pass her Science, Reasoning Through Language Arts, and Social Studies, but struggled with her Math Pre-test and GED Test. Jeanie provided a math study guide, but Zemi still struggled to pass the test, failing two more times. But Jeanie wouldn’t give up on Zemi and she purchased more math study guides to assist her. Jeanie also had a long conversation with her, explaining that if she was unable to pass the last math GED test to complete her GED, she’d have to wait another 6 months to re-take the test. Zemi buckled down and began studying harder than ever for the test, receiving support not only from her Youth Career Advisor, but also from her boyfriend, who encouraged her to study hard and pass.

The day before the test, Jeanie contacted Zemi and offered encouraging words. Zemi promised she’d let her know the results after testing.

Unfortunately, Jeanie wasn’t at her phone when Zemi called. She left a message, without revealing how the test went. Jeanie feared the worst, but called Zemi back. “I passed! By a few points, but I passed!” said Zemi. Jeanie was very proud of the hard work and dedication put forth by Zemi and congratulated her on her accomplishment.

When Zemi came in to the Michigan Works! office to receive her official GED certificate, she was in tears, as was Jeanie. There were hugs and pictures and heartfelt congratulations.

Zemi is now working at a Sales Associate/Manager for Del Sol in Mackinaw City for the summer and plans on attending college in the fall to work with children.

In Zemi’s own words, “I dropped out of high school when I was 17. I just simply felt like I wasn’t smart enough to see it through. And like, with most things, I discouraged myself from even trying. The fear of failing was way stronger than the possibility of succeeding to me. I put off getting my GED for years. It wasn’t until I got the encouragement from my family, my boyfriend and my close friends that it was even a thought in my head. And with my desire to work with underprivileged children, it was time to get down to business and get it done. Through the entire process, I was scared to fail. But I had Jeanie’s support. She stayed on me to get my practice tests done, she supplied me with any study materials I might need. But beyond that, she provided encouragement and was practically a cheerleader for me! She called checking in on me, making sure I was in the right mental space before every single test. And she celebrated every victory with me. Even though the math test took me a few tries, I still got it in the end. When people ask me if the tests were hard I say “Trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it”. I’ve never been more proud of myself, but I know that Jeanie, my family and my friends are all proud of me too. It’s a good feeling. I recommend just getting off your butt and getting your GED done to anyone who asks me. I really don’t think I could’ve done it without Jeanie though. She really was a blessing to get paired with. I couldn’t imagine anyone else going above and beyond like she did. All it takes is a little determination and a good support system. In school, dealing with family issues and my own mental health problems, getting good grades was nearly impossible for me. And I never thought I could be able to say that I tried again. But I did. The fear of failing really pushed to the side by Jeanie and my entire support group.”


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