Rebuilding Our Workforce Starts at Home


Watching a TV News show documenting some powerful tornado or hurricane, we are often stunned at the devastation. What we don’t see is what happens the weeks and months after the catastrophe. We never get to see how people gather up what is left to rebuild their lives again.

In Michigan, catastrophe did strike over the past few years. The greatest difference is that most of the damage went unseen or undiscussed. Our lives were turned upside down and no one really wanted to talk about it or let others know about their personal and financial hardships. It was really too bad that something far beyond our control left many of us feeling demoralized, ashamed, and even at fault for the collapse of the job market and the economy. Now, we are stuck cleaning up our own personal messes.

In this New Year, it is time to get over all that.

Nothing that happened in our economy was any individual’s fault. We need to start removing the emotion from our troubles and put a personal strategy together to get back on our feet. This is often easier said than done.

Take our personal debt, for instance. Daily, we are bombarded with television and radio ads that tout ways to solve our money problems. Unfortunately, these offers too often smell like a bad used car deal rather than a viable way to help us out of our troubles.

As we begin to turn the corner, we need to be logical, unemotional, and strategic in our thinking about how we will move forward as individuals in a collective workforce. As we get our own houses in order, especially our finances, we need to do our research. If you have debt, know your options and know the difference between debt consolidation (where a business merges all your debt into a single, monthly payment), debt settlement (where a business negotiates a lower debt payoff with your creditors), and bankruptcy (this is more complicated and should require a lawyer). Before you do anything, talk to people you trust who have gone through similar troubles and/or who are professionals in the field.

I was speaking with Louis Meeks, President and Founder of Victory Debt Relief ( in Ann Arbor. Louis noted that:

“Although, the industry has a negative reputation in the minds of many, with the best interest of the consumer in mind, debt settlement is a terrific strategy to help Americans in general, and Michigander,s get out of debt and begin a fresh start.”

As a lifelong Michigan resident, Louis has made it a family affair to help people struggling in Michigan. His wife Kelli works in bankruptcy law at Level One Legal Services (, and both are committed to helping people of this region get back on track financially.

It is heartening to see talented Michigan professionals focusing their energies on making this state and region a better place to work and live. Now, as we prepare for an upswing in the job market, let’s get our houses in order, so we can truly reap the benefits of an improving economy and a new beginning in the quality of our lives.