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  • Offender Success

De’Andre Walton is an ex-offender living in Monroe, Michigan, and was enrolled into the Prisoner Re-Entry Program on April 1, 2014 at the Michigan Works! Monroe Service Center.

While he was incarcerated, De’Andre enrolled into the Employability Skills Program and the Cognitive Behavioral Class offered through Community Corrections. De’Andre learned about the different types of employment tools and how to apply those tools to be successful when he got out of jail. He also learned about the many programs offered by Michigan Works! De’Andre would often state that “It is time for a change and I can’t live like this anymore.”

Once De’Andre was released, he wasted no time in getting help finding employment. In February, De’Andre started working with Cari Grahl, Re-Entry Liaison. De’Andre is a Veteran and qualified to work with the Veteran Rep, Sean Sims. Before De’Andre could even be enrolled into a program, he found employment. He started working as a dishwasher, but still wanted better employment and stayed in communication with Michigan Works! When that job ended, his Parole Officer referred him to be enrolled into the Prisoner Re-Entry Program. A review of his barriers and employment goals included transportation problems, homelessness, lack of work clothes, and the need for employment assistance.

Sean Sims referred De’Andre to the US Dept. of VA HUD-VASH housing program for homeless Veterans. De’Andre also received job leads and would quickly follow up on them. He had determination and a positive outlook that this time around things would be different. He was ready to stop living in the past and wanted to make his family proud. He believed that he could be successful. He said “Michigan Works! gave me the confidence that if you put in the work and invest in yourself, you will be successful and sometimes you must crawl before you can walk. Some jobs are better than no job.”

In no time, De’Andre obtained employment with good pay and benefits. He received monthly bus passes to help with transportation and work boots and clothes. On April 7, 2014, De’Andre started employment at Bay Corrugated. He started working 40 hours per week at $10.30 per hour.

On October 13, 2014, De’Andre completed 180 days of employment. He was promoted to Line Leader and received an increase in pay and now earns $11.25 per hour. De’Andre didn’t stop believing. He didn’t go back to his old habits to get that fast cash. He is a perfect example that if you want employment, you can get it. You can be successful being an ex-offender and he is living proof.