Southwest Michigan ERN - St. Joseph County (SWMERN)

Founded: 2015
Southwest Michigan ERN - St. Joseph County (SWMERN)

ERN Program ROI: 243%


ERN Program Employee Retention: 94%


Workforce Utilizing ERN Program: 17%


Distinct Employees Served: 129


Source: Sept 2015-Oct 2016 YE Report



Onsite Success Coaching

The core of the ERN model is onsite, confidential Success Coaching that employees can access on a predictable, ongoing basis. No more wasted hours in social services offices; Success Coaches offer direct connection and access to community resources. Employees who face a crisis from lack of resources can get immediate, personal relief, onsite. Services are available to all employees in our member companies. Success Coaches accommodate all shifts with off-site locations and alternate meeting times available upon request.​

SWMERN Video: St. Joseph (Sarah Beckle)

SWMERN Success Coach, Sarah Beckle, highlights the benefits and opportunities for SWMERN member employees and employers.

SWERN Video: St. Joseph (Peter Sanchez - English)

SWMERN Success Coach, Peter Sanchez, highlights the benefits and opportunities for SWMERN member employees and employers.

St. Joseph (Peter Sanchez - Spanish)

SWMERN Success Coach, Peter Sanchez, highlights the benefits and opportunities for SWMERN member employees and employers.

Download the free Driven to Succeed Ride Share App!

Do you need transportation to/from work or would you like to make some extra cash picking up a co-worker on your way? Download the Driven to Succeed app free (developed in partnership with ERN USA) at the App Store for iPhone and Android. Request the passcode from your Success Coach. Please follow instructions provided below and review the Privacy Policy.

Driven to Succeed Privacy Policy

Please review the Privacy Policy for the Driven to Succeed App.

Southwest Michigan Employer Resource Network (SWMERN) Study

The goal of this study is to learn about the ways in which the SWMERN program (which provides the success coach you are meeting with) helps job seekers and employees find and retain employment. SWMERN is a network of employers, including your current employer. The expansion of the SWMERN program is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The study is being run by a company called Social Policy Research Associates (SPR). The surveys will ask you about your satisfaction with the success coach and the types of services you received. You will not be required to submit the survey, but your participation would be very helpful.

Hardship Loan & Savings Program

Partners: Southwest Michigan First; Sturgis Bank & Trust

Purpose: The Bridge Loan provides a financial resource for the Success Coach and clients, allowing the coach to connect clients to fair and reputable lending. These loans help clients overcome financial burdens that may be negatively impacting their life including auto repairs, credit repair, payday lending traps, appliance purchases, debt, and family emergencies. It is offered as a last resort for employees facing a financial emergency.

Savings Component: The loan includes a savings component which requires a $10 per week deposit into a savings account. The savings commitment is added to the loan repayment amount, which is placed into a savings account that does not allow withdrawals until the loan is paid in full. At the end of the payment plan, the client will accumulate over $520 in savings. Upon pay-off, the client is encouraged to continue the habit of savings. This not only teaches the client the importance of saving, but also acts as a safety net for the bank/credit union. If an employee is terminated while in payments, the savings account is released back for the lending institution to cover any unpaid remaining portion of the loan.

Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF)

The WIF grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor, to the W.E. Upjohn Institute, in partnership with Michigan ERN to expand the Southwest Michigan ERN to all four counties in the Michigan Works! Southwest Area.

Fuel Assistance: Making It to the First Pay Check

Get inspired by other employees' success stories! Robert was hired through a temp agency after being on unemployment for several months. His unemployment had run out and he had no money. He knew he needed help, had heard about the Success Coach Program, and contacted Sarah. Together they discussed some difficult issues that Robert was experiencing. His immediate need was getting to his first paycheck. The Success Coach supplied him with a gas card to put fuel in his car. This made it possible for him to get back and forth to work for the next week. Robert credits the Success Coach Program for helping him stay employed.

Medical Crisis: Signing Up for Public Assistance

Get inspired by other employees' success stories! Tammy contacted her Success Coach about her grand-daughter, Remi and the difficult time they were having at home. Remi was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia and epilepsy with up to 20 seizures a day. Her daughter-in-law, Cierra, had to quit working to care for Remi. Remi’s father, Fred, works full-time. Cierra was trying to make contact with the Social Security Office and DHHS to get public assistance for Remi, but she kept getting the 'cookie cutter' answer of “someone will get back with you shortly." Funds and patience were running thin. Remi and her family moved in with Cierra's parents to save money. Tammy and her husband were even taking on some of Cierra and Fred's monthly bills. The Success Coach connected Cierra to Lisa Stanley directly from the Disability Network. Lisa met with Cierra within a week and helped the family apply for all of their public assistance needs. Remi underwent brain surgery at U of M, came home on June 29, and is doing well.

Housing: Finding Apartment & First Month’s Rent Assistance

Get inspired by other employees' success stories! Jennifer came to the Success Coach and asked if she could help her find any open rentals in the area. She was living in a shelter for women and children. The Coach called several landlords and property managers. She finally found a place that would work for Jen and her children. The Coach followed up with Jen almost weekly on the progress of her getting moved in to her new place. This process took a long time because Jen had to wait on DHHS applications to be completed for first month's rent assistance. Jen had very little furniture. The Coach was able to find free or inexpensive furniture through church donations and garage sale sites. Jen finally moved in by the end of June and the Coach was able to help deliver some items to the new apartment. It was rewarding for her Coach to share toys with Jen's baby girl and see her new place.

Constantine Rotary Hears About Employer Resource Network

Bronwyn Drost, the workforce innovation fund project manager for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and Sarah Beckle, a Cares Program Success Coach for the Southwest Michigan Employer Resource Network (SWMERN) spoke to Constantine Rotary on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

  Employer Members-Investors

  • Bickford Senior Living
  • CLS Image
  • Eimo
  • Graphic Imaging International
  • GT Independence
  • Outerwears
  • Sturgis Molded Products
  • Summit Polymers
  • TH Plastics
  • WSI Talent 
  • XL Machine

  Strategic Partners

  • Michigan ERN
  • Michigan Works! Southwest
  • Southwest Michigan First
  • Sturgis Bank & Trust
  • WE Upjohn Institute