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Overcoming Challenges to find a Career

(Lansing, MI) A Mason County resident and Muskegon Community College were honored by state leaders at the Michigan Works! Impact Awards February 27th in Lansing. The Impact Awards, hosted by the Michigan Works! Association, recognize the economic development success being achieved in communities across Michigan. During the event, local lawmakers present tributes to dozens of honorees from across the state. 

Tina Holey grew up facing challenges that began when she was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. The rare genetic disorder affected the development of her facial structure and also made it difficult for her to eat, drink and breathe. “I always felt discriminated against as a child,” she said “but I never let that hold me back.”

In her early 20’s and after nearly 200 surgeries, Tina was ready to find a full-time job. “I knew I could do more than people thought I could” she said. “I’ve been wanting to work since I was 13-years old.” 

(Pictured left to right: Shayla Savich and Tina Holey)

Tina came to Michigan Works! for guidance and met with career development specialist Shayla Savich, who helped her enroll in the Out-of-School Youth program. “Shayla was awesome” Tina said. “She kept pushing me to accomplish my goals.” 

In 2018, Tina completed a 160-hour training program at Muskegon Community College and wasted no time seeking employment.  ”Today, you can see her on the road, behind the wheel of a semi.

Having traveled through roughly 21 states so far, she says what she enjoys most is seeing new places, trying new things and meeting new people. 

“My family doesn’t have to take care of me anymore,” she said. “I like to inspire others. I like showing people that no matter what others say is wrong with you, there’s always something you can do! I get to prove myself every day.

State Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) attended the ceremony and presented Holey with a special tribute.  “Tina is a great example of what can be achieved if you work hard and refuse to give up,” said VanderWall. “She could have let her medical issues stop her but was determined to be self-sufficient and I’m extremely proud of what she has accomplished with help from Michigan Works!”

“Michigan Works! has the tools to help Michiganders achieve their career goals and I want to congratulate the entire team at Michigan Works! West Central for helping changing outcomes for our residents every day,” said state Rep. Jack O’Malley (R- Lake Ann). “Congratulations to Tina for working hard to achieve your dreams and build a career.