Mandi Somers Named To 40 Under 40 Class Of 2023


Mandi Somers
Michigan Works
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
We connect individuals of all ages to education, training, and employment.
I have a Bachelors as well as a Masters in Education, specializing in Literacy Studies for Special Education. I am a certified reading specialist and have taught all ages from birth to 80 years old. Since joining the Michigan Works team 5.5 years ago, I have grown the adult education program tremendously, adding a distance learning program, which helps reduce barriers to education such as transportation, childcare, or work schedule. I have also expanded our service area to include travel down to Galien, and have added an institutional program which allows our program to serve participants within KPEP as well. I have expanded our adult education team to serve more participants with certified teachers as well. We are excited to continue to explore further expansion opportunities this year!
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
I only have another year before I turn 40, but in that time, I am hoping to expand our adult education program even further to meet the needs of more learners. A GED is a credential which can pave the way for many life improvements such as higher wages, career advancement, skilled trades, training, college, military, and many other opportunities. I am trying to find as many ways to make our program reachable to anyone who does not have a GED or high school diploma. I would also like to serve on an advisory committee for the state regarding adult education to help guide decision making on policies.
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, ZA Endorsement in Early Childhood Education. Master of Arts in Literacy Studies for Special Education Certified Reading Specialist
What Town Do You Reside In?
Where were you born?
St. Joseph, MI
What was your first job?
I worked at Dairy Queen in Stevensville (Before they tore it down and moved it down the road)
Best advice you ever got?
Do what is right, not what is easy.
Who inspires you most?
My parents. They are two of the most hard-working, loving people I know. They have both been through their ups and downs. I remember a time when one was laid off, and the other one had to pay all of the bills, and it was hard, but they got through it. Then as soon as the other got a job, the other got laid off. Then it was the first one’s turn to return the favor. But they never complained. They just did it. They showed me what it meant to persevere. They have taught me how to have a strong work ethic and to be proud of the things I have accomplished and to keep striving to do better for myself and my son.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
I actually came into the Michigan Works service center 5.5 years ago as an unemployed person after leaving my last job and one of their Career Development Specialists saw that I was registering for unemployment. He took a look at my resume and said, “We have a program that helps unemployed people find jobs. We have an opening here for an adult education teacher. Would you like to apply?” And that is how I got my job! (Thanks Terry!)
What do you love to do in your downtime?
Spend time with my 9-year-old son, Ryan, crafting, traveling, and being a crazy cat lady to my 5 cats: Angel, Pepe le Peu, Harley, Cookie, and Maggie May.
What book are you reading now?
Sincerely, Your Autistic Child
Volunteer activity you love the most.
Feeding America Food Truck
What motivates you to give back to your community?
Knowing that I am helping people achieve self-sufficiency and provide for their families in a variety of ways. I know that when I have needed help in the past, I had kind, compassionate people willing to help myself and my family. I want to provide that level of care and help for others.
What Superpower would you most love to have? (for example, the ability to fly or to be invisible, or incredible strength, etc)
I would love to be able to fly. I used to always have dreams about it when I was little.
What would you like to leave behind as your legacy once you are gone?
I would love to have left a legacy of educational knowledge and resources for generations to come to spread to others.
What does the  honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?
Being named to the 40 under 40 is a huge honor to me. It makes the accomplishments over the past several years feel even more valued than they already are, which is amazing. It also pushes me to strive to improve myself and our adult education program even more. Thank you again!


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