Levi Sparks His Career

Sparks have a way of flying around Levi! As a welder, he loves turning sparks into heavy-duty equipment that lasts. The spark that got him started in a lasting career, though, was his passion for the industry. His tool of choice to feed that flame: WIOA.

Levi has a contagious enthusiasm, so when he heard that WIOA could help him get a degree in welding, he was all-in from day one. “Levi is one of the most positive and hard-working clients I’ve had the joy of working with,” says Zana, his WIOA Career Specialist. Zana helped him navigate the admissions process, find financial aid, and prepare for school. She also helped Levi craft a budget and savings plan so he could reach his goals after school.

With a great support network, Levi thrived in his welding classes at Bay College West. WIOA funded Levi’s school fees so he could afford supplies like welding tools. His brother helped drive him to class, and his mother provided a home when he needed it most. WIOA also helped Levi get the practical experience he needed to find a job after graduation. Zana connected Levi with Northwood Manufacturing, where he started as a volunteer and was eventually offered his first job in the field!

Levi loves his new career in welding and goes to work each day with the same passion he brought to classes. He’s just accepted a position at Lake Shore Systems, where he hopes to grow as a welder and eventually earn a promotion. Plus, he’s saved enough to purchase his first home, where he’s excited to start married life with his fiancée.

Congratulations, Levi!

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Lifting Weights with W-2

When you go to AutoZone, be sure to say hi to their new Sales Associate, Rashon! He’s the guy with the friendliest smile you’ll ever see and four great kids he may tell you about while he’s helping you find your supplies. A few months ago, though, he wasn’t sure how he’d manage a full-time job, when he suddenly found himself a single father of four. He knew he had to take immediate action to keep his family moving forward. That’s when Wisconsin Works helped him get back in the driver’s seat and in charge of his life.

Rashon quickly found the guidance, resources, and support he needed to be strong for his children. He’d never needed childcare before, so that was one of the first things his W-2 team helped him secure. Once he knew his children would be cared for, a huge weight lifted from his shoulders, and he buckled down on his job search.

Alongside his W-2 team, Rashon zeroed in on jobs with advancement potential, to keep his family financially stable in the long-run. During his search, he earned monthly payments from W-2 to keep his family afloat. He practiced interviewing, prepared a resume, and looked at options he really enjoyed. With vouchers for transportation and interview attire, he was able to make a great impression on potential employers.

Today, Rashon says that he’s on his way to being financially independent, and he’s excited to find a new home for his family soon. Meanwhile, he’s staying with W-2 for as long as he can, to be the best father possible for his children. Congratulations, Rashon!

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Rx marks the Spot!

Tina had a stable career as a dental assistant for 15 years, while her husband watched their three children at home. Then her world was suddenly thrown upside-down when she lost her job. Out of work, money quickly became tight. With her family depending on her, Tina decided to explore administrative careers, but she didn’t know how to get started until she heard about Wisconsin Works.

Tina quickly discovered that with W-2 on her team, she could do a lot more than just apply for work. Her new case manager, Karen, helped Tina secure a volunteer opportunity in the office, explore career options, and find useful resources. “She gave me pointers and tips, kept me positive, gave me the tools to reach my goals, and was always a friendly face there to help whenever I needed it,” Tina tells us. With a little budgeting advice, Tina even discovered that her W-2 payments put school within reach. Before long, she was enrolled in an Administrative Assistant program at Fox Valley Technical College.

“I could not have gotten my degree and be where I am if I didn’t have the help from the W-2 program,” says Tina. “If I had not received the gas vouchers, I would not have been able to make it to some of my job interviews. The monthly payments paid for rent…This program gave me a positive outlook for my future.”

Today, Tina has both her Associate’s degree and a new career path she’s truly excited about. As a Pharmacy Technician at Hometown Pharmacy, she’s able to combine her healthcare experience with her new administrative skills. “This job means I am reaching my goals and moving forward in a positive way in my life,” she tells us. “I want to make this my career.” We are so happy for you! Congratulations, Tina!

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Home is Where Tiara Is

As a CNA, Tiara’s seen many people move into the retirement communities where she’s worked. She also knows it takes more than unpacking a few belongings to make them feel at home. Thankfully, making people feel at home is something she specializes at. In fact, she enjoys it so much that last year, she decided to start a side-business as a realtor. Tiara knew she’d need a solid plan and support to make that happen, though. That’s where Wisconsin Works came in.

“I enjoyed working with her,” says Tessa, Tiara’s W-2 case manager. “She isn’t afraid to be her own advocate, but she’s also willing to accept help if needed.” Tiara knew that to make her dream come true, she’d need reliable daycare, transportation, and her GED. Ever-passionate about helping others, she was also eager to continue working as a CNA. W-2 helped her arrange everything she needed to get started.

Together with Tessa, Tiara started her business, enrolled in GED classes, and found a great job working with WI MEDEMPLOY. She loves that it’s a job with flexible hours, so she can keep the career she loves in healthcare, while building her brand as a realtor. Since she works days, she can also spend more time with her kids and show them what a great role model looks like.

Congratulations, Tiara!

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Precious Soars to New Heights

“I came to TrANS with nothing but hope and ambition,” says Precious, “and I’ve been soaring ever since.” The moment she started her career in construction, there was nothing to stop Precious from having the life she’d always wanted. You’d never know that just a few months ago, she was having trouble getting it off the ground.

“I was sitting at home, waiting to get a call to go back to work,” she states. Precious had just moved to Wisconsin with her newborn and was living with a friend while struggling to get by on minimum wage. When she heard about TrANS, she saw the opportunity she needed. “I had seen some of my friends go through the program. They were learning skills, getting certifications, and excited to start work in construction. I decided I wanted to be like them.”

Precious’ career took off faster than anyone could have predicted. As the graduate of another program, Precious was fast-tracked into Southwest TrANS. She pushed herself to excel, and within two weeks, she started her first job in construction. A few weeks later, she moved her family into a new home. Then she bought a car. It was one great thing after another!

Precious is currently working with Speedway Sand and Gravel. She says that her secret to success is “wanting it bad enough and not being afraid to go out of the way to get it. Even pushing yourself to do things that seem scary.” While she’s thrilled to have a great job that she enjoys, she’s also always pushing herself to new heights. During the last off-season, she started apprenticeship classes with Laborer Union 464 and asked to get as much class time as possible, so she could get a jump-start on the next season.

“Precious understands that sitting back and waiting for life to happen isn’t for her,” says her instructor Lorie. “I am so proud of her.” Congratulations, Precious!

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Jason’s Best Advice

As a full-time single dad, Jason would do anything to be a good role model for his son. For a while though, he wasn’t sure if that meant giving up on his education. A tough divorce left finances tight, he didn’t know if he could afford to keep his home, much less pay for school. Then his counselor at Mid-State Technical College recommended WIOA. “It was the best advice she could have given me.”

“The feeling of hopelessness was overwhelming at the time, but that all changed quickly after my first meeting with my WIOA Career Planner, Jamie,” says Jason. “I started to become very confident about my future.”

WIOA was able to help pay school fees, navigate his job search, and balance work, school, and family. “What kept me going was seeing a better, happier future for my son and I, which was my complete motivation,” he says, adding “I wanted to make my son proud of his dad and be a good role model.”

Jason graduated with the highest honors and soon landed a great position working in healthcare at Aspirus. “It’s a career that I truly enjoy, not just a job. It feels like I’m making a difference in someone’s life,” he says. Most of all though, he’s back to having “a normal life with normal hours,” where he can spend time with his son.

“I really can’t say enough about the program. It honestly gave me the support and extra confidence I needed to make my dream a reality,” says Jason. “I have been so blessed by the kindness and I am so indebted for all this program has given me along with the kind-hearted support and encouragement from Jamie, my WIOA Career Planner. WIOA and Jamie have made a huge difference in my life! I will be forever grateful.”

Congratulations, Jason!

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LaTasha Chooses Success

If you’ve ever tracked a package, you know the delivery date depends on where it’s coming from and where it stops along the way. LaTasha had a bumpy start to her journey, and she almost lost everything before she made it back on track. After she did, she got the best news of her life: she was going to be a mother. She was happier than ever, and she joined Wisconsin Works to make sure nothing would ever derail her again. Now she’s on track to deliver her family the life they deserve!

“After I was accepted into the program, I was offered a great opportunity to become certified in Logistics,” LaTasha explains. Our Logistics Professionals course teaches how to coordinate complex operations like delivering products to their destinations. LaTasha’s analytical nature and eye for detail made her a great candidate, and she couldn’t wait to get started.

“After having my daughter, I knew I wanted to give her the world,” she says. “I knew this would be a great start to being able to support my family.” Today, she’s earned two logistics certifications and is more eager for life than ever before. Just as she got started with her job search, however, she got another piece of unexpected news: a second child!

“This will be my second blessing, when I thought I couldn’t have any,” she says. “You can only imagine how excited I am!” LaTasha defines success as setting and achieving goals, living comfortably, and being happy with life. “Success and a life of happiness are yours for the choosing,” she says.  “Today I stand successful and proud as a . . . mother with two certifications in logistics.”

LaTasha plans to pursue a career in logistics after her second child is born and will be staying with W-2 to keep her family on the great path they’ve started on. Congratulations, LaTasha!

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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!

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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!”

Congratulations, Katrina!

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Crystal’s Setting the Bar

Crystal joined Wisconsin Works and FSET to support for her family during unemployment. It didn’t take long before she was amazed to find herself on an exciting new path. “Upon entering, I had no goal in mind,” she explains. “FSC helped me build a strategy to start a new career path as an administrative office assistant.” Then one painful twist put it all in jeopardy.

Or so she thought. With a torn ACL, a long recovery, and three children to care for, Crystal didn’t see how she could stay on the career path she’d grown to love. When her FSC team heard about the setback, however, they got her the tools she needed to complete the course from home.

“The classes were streamed live right to my home computer,” says Crystal with joy. Her team also helped her arrange the hands-on practice she needed to find a job upon graduation. “The training allowed interaction with customers, typing, faxing, answering phones, and assisting clients. They were very accommodating to someone in my position.”

We’re happy to say that Crystal has achieved her goal. She earned her Office Professionals certificate and has even secured a few interviews! She’s not interviewing in Wisconsin, though. That’s because Crystal decided to achieve another new goal: moving to Colorado to raise her family in the mountains! She has family there, and she’s always wanted to move back. With her new skills, she finally feels like she can be the independent mom she really wants her children to know as they grow up.

Crystal says that this has changed her from someone who had no goals to someone who’s setting the bar for herself. “My dream for the future is to become a floral designer, own my own home, and be financially stable as an office professional,” she tells us. You are one step closer already. Congratulations, Crystal!

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