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Numerous organizations are coming together to help local residents in addiction recovery build employment skills, while offering home improvement projects around Midland.

Community Corrections Manager Marisa Boulton at the Midland County Jail has watched two residents blossom in their recovery journey, that’s led to this overall effort. 

“I’m just so proud of them,” she said of co-founders of Skills for Tomorrow, Greg “Buddy” Yancer and Nick Hale. “They’re making generational changes for themselves and the people that they work with. That’s how Midland becomes an even better community.”


Skills for Tomorrow, which is an organization founded to help people in recovery work in a safe and sober environment while building skills, is teaming up with Community Construct, a local nonprofit. This project connects people of all ages who have been involved with the justice system to create a network of personal mentoring, recovery coaches and career on the job training.

The goal is to provide a “boost” in an effort to develop “productive members” of the community.

“The reason Skills for Tomorrow exists is for transformation,” said Yancer and Hale, in an early July press release. “Each and every project we do isn’t just a source of income for our crew, but another building block in this new way of life. From customer service to the basic on-site skills, each home helps put together the puzzle.”

Specific projects will focus on roof remodeling, siding and exterior home construction in a substance free environment that offers the flexibility needed for court obligations, support meetings, counseling and other requirements.

The two organizations plan to connect individuals of the youth and older generations. Youth will assist with building handicap accessible ramps and porch renovations. Adults will be mentors, teaching them to build communication and life skills to help them transition out of juvenile correction facilities back into classrooms and/or the community. 

“Having positive adult role models is critical and one variable that many young people do not have,” said Erick Forshee, founder of Community Construct. “This program couples positive interaction with adults and construction skills to reinforce how work ethic and good choices can help set them on the right path.” 

The second focus will be on adults with justice system involvement transitioning into the workforce. The pillars of these projects will be mentoring, substance abuse counseling, support meetings and flexibility in scheduling, along with a fair wage. Primary goals are to enhance the participant’s employability through improved communication, teamwork, safety, timeliness, willingness to learn, positive attitude, and resilience. 

Support from other nonprofits

The Midland Area Community Foundation awarded a $40,000 grant for the “Community Builds” project, which provides vital funding for participant employment.

“Midland Area Community Foundation is pleased to support inclusive projects like this that bring about long-term transformation and help ensure all residents thrive,” said Sharon Mortenson, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “We are proud to be a catalyst to help Community Construct in their important work.”

United Way of Midland County and Michigan 211 program’s northeast branch are developing an advantage of their new “Leveraging Income for Tomorrow,” or LIFT, program to provide financial resources for the home improvement materials to support projects for hardworking families who would otherwise struggle to afford expensive, yet necessary repairs.

“This program is collaboration at its best,” said Sarah Kile, Executive Director of 211 Northwest Michigan. “Our connections coach provides a trusting relationship to help families navigate services in our community while funding through United Way provides new resources to many who work hard but don’t often qualify for help.”

The program also leverages nonprofit expertise, which includes Home To Stay and Habitat for Humanity, additional partners in the program. Together, they contribute extensive knowledge and connections to help identify families in need and providing support.

Home to Stay’s Executive Director Donna St. John said partnerships have helped serve more households and better address the needs of Midland area community members “as well as contribute to those on their recovery journey.” 

“It’s truly a win-win,” said Holly Miller, President and CEO the local United Way. “Participants work in a supportive environment where they gain vital employment skills and local families benefit with much-needed house repairs to ensure they can remain safely in their homes.”

For more information about the Community Construct program, contact Erick Forshee by phone at (989) 615-2754 or email at [email protected] Those interested in following developments from the program can also visit Skills For Tomorrow’s page on Facebook, which is titled “Skills For Tomorrow Remodeling“.

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