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Digital training hub created: Can help residents navigate resources amid pandemic

MARQUETTE –The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has developed a digital hub to connect residents with online learning opportunities and other training resources during the COVID-19 crisis.

The digital hub, Michigan.gov/SkillstoWork, features a range of online learning and career exploration options — including free opportunities — for Michigan residents to consider while navigating the COVID-19 economy in the coming weeks and months, when in-person learning opportunities may be limited.

The virtual resource is a collaborative effort between LEO, the Michigan Community College Association, Michigan Works! agencies and others aimed at increasing opportunities for all Michiganders to explore online degree and certificate programs.

“With the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that we help Michiganders improve their skills, explore in-demand career opportunities and jump start educational opportunities,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio in a news release. “These online resources continue to expand opportunities for residents to connect with and succeed in high-demand, high-wage careers of the future.”

The hub supports Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age Michiganders with a skill certificate or college degree from the recently announced level, 48.9%, to 60% by 2030. The aim of the Sixty by Thirty initiative is to make Michigan a more competitive state and help Michiganders gain access to greater education, training and income growth opportunities.

In addition, the site provides a new Return-to-Work Playbook that assists those preparing to enter the work force, finding their next job or discovering another one in a national economy with significant unemployment.

The playbook outlines available career and job-readiness resources, including step-by-step instructions for developing resumes, preparing for interviews, exploring new career paths and finding free or inexpensive job training opportunities.

It also provides industry or occupational-specific resources for in-demand careers and additional resources to assist specific individuals including veterans, individuals with disabilities, migrant and seasonal farm workers, and adult learners.

Puppy scam alert made

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Humane Society of the United States are urging consumers to be wary of puppy scams as many people seek to purchase or adopt dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the increased number of those staying at home during the ongoing public health emergency, many are turning to the internet to adopt a pet for companionship. Nessel said she has seen a surge in complaints of internet scammers exploiting this situation.

Several Michiganders have recently been tricked into paying for pets that do not exist. Because these thieves are often outside the United States, the prospects of getting money back are low.

“Scammers are looking for any way to take advantage of consumers during this pandemic and puppies are unfortunately not exempt,” Nessel said in a news release. “While many people may be eager to bring home a puppy during this time, I urge Michiganders to be vigilant in their search to avoid being scammed.”

She said her office continues to make protecting residents from predatory and deceptive business practices a priority, stressing that these puppy scams will ultimately result in “heartbreak and financial loss.”

In addition to the deceptive practices of advertising puppies that do not exist or charging exorbitant fees, scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic as they use it as a reason to avoid in-person visits and demand additional fees.

Consumers should remain vigilant when purchasing a puppy online. These best practices can help consumers avoid falling victim to the scams:

≤ Research the breed;

≤ Research the breeder;

≤ Research the advertised puppy;

≤ Do not purchase a puppy sight-unseen;

≤ Use a credit card to make the purchase;

≤ Retain all documents and communications from the breeder; and

≤ Consider contacting your local shelter.

Michigan consumers who believe they have been a victim of a puppy scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team at https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx.

Camping on the go

Although the Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ Youth Camp was canceled this year, the MUCC education team has been working to create a “Camp-to-Go” curriculum.

The Camp-to-Go curriculum is a bundle of outdoor-related activities mailed to families that is full of lessons and programs children might normally participate in at camp.

Lessons include instructions on what type of wildlife to look for on a night hike, how to build a survival shelter and how to start a fire. Funds raised from Camp to Go will be used to help with revenue lost through the cancellation of this season.

For more information or to request a bundle, email camp director Max Bass at mbass@mucc.org.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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