Creating A Strong and Resilient U.P.

Hanna Duckwall and Holly Peoples, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!

The Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute (UPCI) sat down with Hanna Duckwall and Holly Peoples of the Upper Peninsula Michigan works! (UPMW) team to discuss their mission and how they are achieving it. The mission of the UPMW is to “promote and address the needs of business for current and future work-ready talent in support of a strong and resilient economy”. By working with the UPCI and promoting its training opportunities, they are one step closer to making their mission a reality.

Hanna Duckwall is an NMU Alumna who graduated with a B.A. in English. She gained an interest in dynamic training solutions when she was a volunteer in the Peace Corp. Hanna’s current responsibilities include identifying and creating training opportunities for UPMW staff as well as the organizations and individuals they serve. 

Holly Peoples holds the position of the Business Services Manager. Within her role she wears many hats, including business services, customized training, registered apprenticeships, and much more. She provides support to a team that has a goal to transform relationships and support the growth of the regional economy. Holly has been with UPMW since 1998 and is a certified Business Solutions Professional as well as a certified Workforce Development Professional.

Both Hanna and Holly have been working with Doug Miller, his team, and the UPCI in promoting the institute’s courses and training. Michigan Works! became industry partners because Darren Widder, Policy and Programs Manager for UPMW, saw great potential in the UPCI and what it has to offer. He saw the innovative and creative training programs and wanted to jump at the opportunity to share them. 

The state of Michigan, as well as the rest of the country, is experiencing a workforce gap in the cybersecurity industry. In the state of Michigan alone, there are over 7,000 jobs that need to be filled. Part of this gap is the false idea that only males are able to enter the field of cybersecurity. Both males and females can be successful, and it is the hope of Michigan Works! that more females prove this assumption wrong and help other women do the same. One of the main goals at Michigan Works! is creating a strong worker pipeline. They want the community to know that this growing field is well paying, rewarding, and gives you the opportunity to live anywhere and work remotely. 

One variable that is important to both the UPCI and Michigan Works! is teaching cyber safety in K-12 schools. Currently, there is career and technical education in seven elementary schools throughout the region and they hope to advance those numbers in the future. Teaching these young kids will not only improve their knowledge, but it will also help create job and opportunity awareness for those wanting to stay in the U.P. in the future. Both entities want to make the cybersecurity industry self-sustaining and they can’t do that without you. In addition to having cybersecurity taught in schools, they are also working on creating a youth apprenticeship program. This program will give students the opportunity to still be students in the educational setting, but also give them the ability to gain work experience in a cyber related field. Additionally, Michigan Works! has a ten-week bootcamp that can benefit those with disabilities. Hanna and Holly are working hard to inform their staff members and Michigan Rehabilitation Services about this camp.

Hanna and Holly both state that all levels of institutions can experience long-term and devastating effects if training is not taken seriously. If you are interested in cybersecurity and don’t know how to get started or involved, Michigan Works! is here to help.  They will listen to what your goals are and help you get to where you want to be. They will also help you get the training and certifications that you want and need. As a company, they provide education and training support, help you advance your skills, and help you get on-the-job training opportunities. 

Peoples and Duckwall stand by UPMW’s values to help you build skills and self-confidence, demonstrate and enhance professional image, lead you to the right job, provide the tools you need to be successful, help you overcome barriers, and most importantly, help EMPOWER you. Don’t be strangers - contact them today at (906) 228-3075 or visit their Website.


Holly Peoples and Hanna Duckwall