Making it through a divorce is no small feat. Separating from a spouse can leach a lot of emotional strength from a person. This can be particularly true for people who decide to stay at home to raise children. When a marriage ends, these parents may not have a job to sink their time into. However, there are many people who come out of their divorce with newfound insight and confidence. The JVS Trade Secrets event is an event that shares these stories of positivity to inspire people in Michigan. Although the event is geared towards women, the words of encouragement are universal.
This year’s Trade Secrets event in Auburn Hills sold out with the number of guests surpassing five hundred. The event supports JVS’ “Women to Work” program. The program aims to help women overcome obstacles to joining the work force. In addition to helping divorced women, the program also helps those whose partners are unemployed or deceased.
One Woman’s Determination
The evening’s keynote speaker shared her story of divorce. Linda Schlesinger-Wagner has been divorced for 10 years. When she and her husband separated, Schlesinger-Wagner struggled to support herself and her children. She even said that her son was battling a drug addiction during that time.
However, Schlesinger-Wagner pushed on and received professional support from storeowners in Brighton and West Bloomfield. She now owns her own clothing company, estimated to be worth around $8 million. Schlesinger-Wagner even remarried a few years ago to a man she met on a blind date.
Millennials On The Rise
Schlesinger-Wagner is one of many women to rejoin the workforce after divorce. However, the workforce is changing as the “millennial” generation comes of age. In 2015 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Americans born between 1982 and 2000 represent roughly a quarter of the population.
With projected growth rates, the state of Michigan estimated that there were around 621,700 people in Kent County in 2013. This data leads to an estimated 150,000 citizens in the Grand Rapids area who may be considered to be millennials. This number may be higher across West Michigan when factoring in the presence of several large Universities in Kalamazoo, Allendale, and Big Rapids.
Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post has explored how opinions on divorce have changed. She compares survey results from the past decade to illustrate that Americans seem to disapprove of divorce at a higher rate then they did 12 years ago. Rampell also says that millennials are interested in marriages that will last. With that generation’s population growing older, the future number of divorces may decrease in Michigan.
Potential Effects On The Divorce Community
It is important to remember that divorce rates have been high in the generations before millennials. This applies to divorced women like Schlesinger-Wagner. Her inspirational story does not only apply to women of her generation, but it seems that there may be fewer stories like hers in the coming years.
On the other hand, stories like Schlesinger-Wagner’s could become more important in coming years. If divorce rates decrease, the population of divorced Americans may also decrease. This could lead to a smaller, but more intimate community of women supporting each other. No matter what happens, though, the Trade Secrets event doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
Rampell, C. (2016, Apr. 20). Catherine Rampell: Keeping It Together. Battle Creek Enquirer. Retrieved on Apr. 27, 2016, from http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/04/20/catherine-rampell-keeping-together/83270128/
Yolles, J. (2016, Apr. 17). The Skinny On Tees Founder. Hometown Life. Retrieved on Apr. 27, 2016, from http://www.hometownlife.com/story/life/columnists/julie-yolles/2016/04/17/skinny-tees-founder/83069930/
(2015, June 25). Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers And Are Far More Diverse, Census Bureau Reports. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on Apr. 27, 2016, from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-113.html
Estimated Population for Michigan Counties: 2010-2013. Michigan Department Of Technology, Management, And Budget. Retrieved on Apr. 27, 2016, https://www.michigan.gov/cgi/0,4548,7-158-54534_51713_51716-325583–,00.html