Too Good Not to Try

When Edgar shared his dreams with his sister, she just had one recommendation: join TrANS. A graduate from the program, she knew Edgar could get everything he wanted if he just gave it a shot. At first, he was skeptical. He thought a free program that could get him into a high-paying career was too good to be true. Today Edgar says, “Now I feel like I not only have a future, but I am reaching for dreams that I never knew existed.”

“I wanted to find a job, work with a crew I liked, and focus on a career that I could just keep improving on,” says Edgar. Although Edgar didn’t have any construction experience, he loved the hands-on TrANS training that prepared him for what he’d be doing in the field. He graduated, applied, and waited for the offers to roll in – and when nothing came, he got in touch with his instructor, Lorie.

She stuck to her promise to help him find a job after graduation. Edgar took Lorie’s career guidance to heart. When she gave him an application for Trierweiler, he jumped on it. “Within a week,” says Lorie, “he had submitted the application, had an interview, and was offered a job.”

Today, Edgar loves his position in Quality Control with Treirweiler. “I really liked the crew I was working with, even when I was new, they were great,” he says, adding “There was a lot to learn, but it was always interesting… The company is going to have me take more classes to learn more about Q&C protocols. That’s exciting!”

Now, Edgar enjoys hearing his family brag about him to others and says that being able to provide for his family without worries is “a peace of mind that I can’t explain.”

Congratulations, Edgar!

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Miguel’s in charge of his future

“With a family – three kids – I have a strong future,” says Miguel. He’s a TrANS graduate who earned a union position with Dane County Contracting before he even completed the program. This career has changed everything for Miguel, who tells us “I no longer have any financial pressures or worries.”

Before, Miguel had a full-time job, but he didn’t have the educational background that could advance him into a supervisory role. “I knew I was an asset, always being asked to train people” says Miguel, but he wasn’t satisfied with the lack of opportunities ahead. “I wanted to be a good provider, and I didn’t see that happening.”

Then a relative told him about the support she’d gotten from TrANS. “She had graduated from the program and was making great money,” says Miguel. Although the first class available was in a neighboring county, Miguel didn’t want to waste any time waiting. He charged ahead, studied hard, networked with industry professionals, and rolled right into CDL training after graduation.

Plus, TrANS connected Miguel with Dane County Contracting. After presenting to the class, their reps could clearly see Miguel’s talent and motivation. They asked to be the first to know when Miguel got his CDL, so they could make him an offer.

“I now have a CDL (the Golden Ticket), a career, a pension, and stability,” states Miguel. “It doesn’t matter the weather, the economy, etc. I know that I am in charge of my future now.”

Congratulations, Miguel!

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David’s Dream

David had just moved into his own apartment. It was great, but to fulfill his dream of independence, he needed one more thing: his own car. Just two problems: he’d just had foot surgery, and COVID-19 just closed a lot of options. Thanks to his perseverance and remote support from WETAP, though, David will be returning to work next week in a shiny, red Honda Accord!

While David was already on reduced hours because of his foot, he decided to use the extra time to find a way to get off the bus line. Simply put, the long commute had gotten old. When David learned that he could get a no-interest vehicle loan through WETAP, he was eager to apply.

“Although I was not able to meet David because of the Safer at Home order, we connected almost daily through emails, phone calls, and faxes,” says Kim, David’s Mobility Manager. Even though the pandemic has complicated how she connects with participants, Kim has been encouraged by their drive to push forward throughout it all.

Together, they applied, found a safe vehicle, and set up his budget so David could keep his dream alive. When asked about his future, David sent Kim these pictures of his new ride and said “No more buses! Thank you, Kim!”

Congratulations, David!

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Food Benefits for Kids

Good news! Children who would normally get free or reduced price meals through their school will receive food benefits while schools are closed due to COVID-19. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working to get these Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to families as we speak.

Benefits are available based on information already on file for children receiving free and reduced price meals. Here’s a breakdown of how they’re being distributed:

  • If you’re on FoodShare, P-EBT benefits will be on your Quest Card. Benefits will be available on April 27 for March and April. Benefits will be available at the end of May for May and June. You’ll also see this notice in the mail to let you know about your P-EBT benefits.
  • If you’re not enrolled in FoodShare but are in a different public benefit program, you’ll see P-EBT benefits either on your Quest Card or on a new P-EBT Card that looks like the one below. You’ll receive your P-EBT card in the mail with information on how to use it.

  • If your information is not currently on file, you will be able to apply for benefits in early May. You’ll receive information on how to apply for benefits. If approved, you’ll also see a P-EBT card like the one pictured above in the mail.

The benefit amount for March and April combined is $176.70 per child who receives free or reduced priced meals. For May and June combined, the benefit amount is $148.20 per child who receives free or reduced priced meals. The benefits must be used within one year of being issued.

You’ll also be able to check the balance on your card using the ebtEDGE website or the ebtEDGE mobile app.

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Dream Coming True

“I grew up in a small town and always dreamed about becoming a nurse,” says MiKayla. For a while, it seemed like everything was going according to plan. She got a job working as a Nursing Assistant and enrolled in college. Then she got tangled up in the wrong crowd. Thankfully, when MiKayla learned she was pregnant, she pulled out all the stops to untangle her life and provide a great future for her son.

“As soon as I found out, I knew I had to give up school and get a decent job so I could move and make a small life for my child,” says MiKayla. She had already quit nursing and found a clerical position to build up her bank account until childbirth. “They did not have paid maternity leave for new moms, so I had to use all of my savings… Having a newborn, paying all my bills, and having no income was incredibly hard.”

Thankfully, her nurse with Nurse Family Partnership knew that Wisconsin Works could help.

MiKayla quickly enrolled and got the help she needed to revive her dream. W-2 helped MiKayla pay her bills through maternity leave. They also helped her realize that she could still pursue her dream to become a nurse while being a model cleric and mom. When she got back to work, MiKayla even got bonus checks for keeping her job.

“Now, because I got support through W-2 and NFP, I am currently enrolled at Herzing University for Nursing,” MiKayla attests. “They are helping give me the opportunity to make my dream finally come true for me and my son. I will be able to give him an even better life now. I am so incredibly thankful!”

Congratulations, MiKayla!

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Debra’s Caring for Our World

“I am fortunate to be working and appreciate my job more than ever,” says Debra, a 2017 TrANS graduate. She just wrote in to assure us that, as a truck driver, she’s still thriving through COVID-19. In fact, she’s just closed on a new home for her three children. Debra is proud to be part of an industry that’s so essential, delivering our necessities every day. “I love my job and what I do!” she says, adding “especially in this time of need through the pandemic and uncertainty.”

This kind of certainty is new to Debra, however, who was “living careless, reckless, and wild… for what seemed like forever” before she hit a turning point. “I spent a lot of time reevaluating my life and concluded that I had to change my ways,” she says. “It didn’t happen overnight.”

In 2012, she enrolled at NWTC, where she became friends with TrANS graduate Daniel Webster. They kept in touch after she graduated with her Associate’s degree. He knew that Debra was still having a hard time finding a fulfilling career. “Long story short,” she says, “he called me one day and swore by this program. His exact words were ‘This program is a life-changer, but you have to be willing to put in the work’.” Debra threw her hands in the air and decided to go for it!

She learned how to “adapt, overcome, and find a solution” to whatever obstacles were thrown her way. After graduating from TrANS in 2017, she spent a season working in road construction before pursuing a passion for driving. Finding a sponsor was tricky, but Debra kept networking until she found a company that gave her a chance. Finally, JBS Carriers arrived at Fox Valley Technical College. Four days later, she was taking her first plane ride ever, heading to Greeley, Colorado for orientation.

“I’ve been employed with JBS for almost two years now and have no regrets!” says Debra. Now, instead of living without a care in the world, she’s proud to be caring for our world by delivering necessities during the COVID shutdown. Congratulations, Debra!

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The Future in Raphael’s Hands

“Your future is an open door,” says Raphael. “You just need to walk through. Figure out what you want to do, do it, and learn everything you can about that. Do your best, learn as much as you can, and you’ll have a good career. One you can be proud of.”

Before joining TrANS, Raphael was “working very hard for almost nothing.” He dedicated himself to learning the trades through TrANS, knowing that the harder he pushed himself, the better returns he’d get in the end. Now, he eagerly puts in overtime at a career he loves with Mega Concrete Construction. He’s already earning double his starting wage, which means the world to him.

“There’s a huge amount of pride for Raphael knowing that he can provide for his family,” says TrANS instructor Lorie, adding “and he LIKES what he is doing! Can anyone ask for more than that?”

Raphael says he knew he was a success when contractors started asking for him personally. “I no longer have to scramble around looking for employment,” he tells us. “I have built a good reputation – and my increases in pay show the respect I get from contractors… My future is in my hands. I can move up the ladder any direction I want.”

So, what direction does Raphael want to go? Well, he just welcomed a baby girl to his family, so Raphael’s focusing on being a great father and adjusting to the change. Then he has plans to continue learning, become a foreman, and make construction his lifelong career. Congratulations, Raphael!

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Safeguarding Your Health

Hello to our valued clients. As you know, Governor Evers has put additional restrictions in place to safeguard everyone’s health. Forward Service Corporation is putting these into effect in our offices so we all emerge from this crisis healthy and happy.

We are practicing social distancing by limiting contact. This means no handshaking or hugs. We are also limiting the number of people in rooms and cancelling all events with 7 or more people. All job fairs and in-person employment interviews are cancelled for the time being.

Also, don’t be surprised if we are spacing you out from other clients when you come to our office.

These changes will remain in place until further notice and are put in place so we all stay healthy.

We are still here for you – if you have questions or needs, please don’t hesitate to contact your case manager directly or connect with us here.

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