Lisa Says: You Can Too!
Lisa devotes herself wholeheartedly to everything she does. When she married and started her family, she set her career aside and focused on being a great mom. She had two children and was pregnant with her third when the unthinkable happened: her beloved husband passed away. Suddenly widowed, and missing the family’s sole provider, she says that she quickly hit rock bottom. But she knew she couldn’t stay there because her family was relying on her.
The first thing Lisa did was reach out for advice. A group on Facebook encouraged her to try Wisconsin Works. Wasting no time, she stopped in at our office to explore her options.
While she has a degree in medical office administration, she didn’t get a chance to use it much before becoming a full-time mom. Our Office Professionals course was exactly what she needed to brush up on her office know-how. Her team helped her arrange necessities like childcare and transportation, so she could succeed during training. They also helped set up a volunteer experience with World Headquarters to get additional hands-on practice in an office environment.
During graduation, she said that she wants others to hear her story, so they know that if she can do it, they can too. “I want people to know that this can happen to anyone,” she said, “but you will be okay.”
Lisa’s baby girl has arrived safely, if a bit early. They’ll be bonding during maternity leave for the upcoming weeks, with welcome support from W-2. She’s looking forward to starting an office career once it’s over, though, and is eager to put her skills to work.
Congratulations, Lisa! We can’t wait to see you and baby in the office soon!
Katrina’s Breathing Easy
It turns out that unemployment ended up being the opportunity Katrina has waited a lifetime for. When her employer went out of business, the future looked scary to this single mother of 2 because unemployment wasn’t going to cut it. While applying for these benefits at the local job center, however, she also learned about a program called WIOA which could help her get the training for a new career. Before she knew it, she was pursuing a dream she’d had for years: going back to school to become a Respiratory Therapist.
“I could not be happier with WIOA,” says Katrina. “Without them, I may not have ever taken this step towards bettering myself and the life I can offer my children.” With classes almost 40 miles away one way and two children just starting school, her life quickly became about balancing schedules and keeping the bills under control. Her WIOA team helped with tuition assistance, book fees, and even mileage reimbursement.
“It was such a comfort to know that [WIOA] was behind me rooting for me every step of the way,” she says. “They were always willing to help in any way they could or point me in the right direction. I will never forget what they have done for me.”
Katrina graduated with High Honors and has already been hired as a Respiratory Therapist! She loves her new career, but she says that the most amazing thing is how much she’s grown by persevering through the last few years. “This experience has boosted my confidence, helped me learn time-management skills and ultimately be able to provide for my family. There’s no better feeling than that!”