Matie was a successful construction and logistics business owner for over 10 years in his home country. He had assisted the US marines in his previous work. Unfortunately, due to the political situation overseas, his home was no longer safe for his family. Matie and his family were forced to pack up and leave behind a life they once knew to embark on a completely new adventure.
Moving to a new country comes with a lot of challenges.
Matie and his family were in a new environment, a new language, and a new set of customs to acclimate to all while trying to find a means of surviving at the same time. But Matie forged on. Once arriving to their new home in Wisconsin, Matie immediately connected with ECDC, the local resettlement agency, to make his family’s sudden adjustment as easy as possible. Knowing the urgency of his immediate needs, they referred Matie to our Wisconsin Works program for Emergency Cash Assistance and help finding employment.
Once Matie’s urgent needs were being handled and his mind somewhat settled, he and his Case Manager Heidi took a moment to regroup and talk about his long-term dreams.
Matie really missed his home and knew he had to get back to his normal life as quick as possible. He wanted to get back what he left behind in his homeland. His ultimate dream was to get his CDL, purchase a truck of his own, and start a business he could pass down to his children and create a lasting legacy. Though the dream felt out of reach at the moment, Matie never gave up hope.
A Community Supported Plan
With his ultimate end goal in clear focus, Matie needed to get other affairs in order. Being new to the country, he needed to obtain a regular driver’s license, a vehicle, and a job. Living in a rather rural area, the nearest driving school was about 20 miles away from Matie’s home. His W-2 Case Manager, Heidi, issued Matie bus passes while he worked on getting his regular Driver’s License.
Once Matie passed his test, he was on his next step of finding a vehicle. He found a decent working vehicle with the help of CAP and their Work-N-Wheels Auto Loan Program. Matie also secured a job with a compassionate employer that understood his goals and admired his work ethic. In less than a month, Matie completed all the steps he needed to satisfy his CDL requirements and jumped in with little time to spare, an incredible feat for someone so new to a foreign country.
Now was his Case Manager’s time take the reins. Heidi connected Matie to a CDL advisor with our partner, Northcentral Technical College, where they worked hand-in hand on his application for their CDL program. They mapped out a plan of action to make Matie’s dreams come true and also provided additional ESL services to assist him while learning. Heidi also co-enrolled him in our Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program to help pay for schooling, his physical and license. The Workers Advancement Initiative (WAI) program also was able to reimburse Matie for any mileage to and from campus and provided him a stipend to help support him.
All steps were in place for Matie to achieve his dream, but Matie’s life wasn’t put on pause just because he was going to school and working on it.
Normal life and bills still accumulated. He continued to work full time while going to school full time. He also had to be present with his family. He had had the support of his wonderfully devoted wife, Bibi, as a person to lean on when times were tough, and hope was dimming. Bibi was always there to pick him up, brush him off and continue on their path for their family. With a loving family, a flexible employer and a community backing him, Matie continued to stay driven and look forward.
Driving Into the Future
In less than one year being in the US, Matie was able to find a job, get his driver’s license, purchase a vehicle, and get his CDL license!
Today, Matie is fully self-sufficient and happy to be so, especially to be having a vehicle this winter! He is currently working as a machine operator at Graphic Packaging but is on track to having a CDL job very soon. His family is also thriving.
Matie still continues his plan towards his American dream. He talks of plans to purchase a semi-truck of his own and eventually create a business of his own to hand down to his children one day. “Matie worked incredibly hard to achieve everything has since arriving in the US,” says Heidi. “He’s a dreamer that is incredibly hardworking. He is also a person of integrity. He loves his new community and plans to grow roots here.”