Corisa’s Firsthand Experience

Corisa looked around. Her instructor had just asked the class to break into groups. She found a small group and started talking. That’s when she discovered three things: she was good with people, she liked collaborating, and she could help. It’s also why we know she’s going to be great in her new position with ThedaCare!

Corisa enrolled in our Office Professionals training to get a better life for her family. She wanted to start a full-time career with stable hours for her children, but it seemed like no one was hiring – at least not without experience. At FSC, Corisa found the training she needed and an invaluable volunteer opportunity.

At FSC’s front desk, Corisa immersed herself into her first practical office experience. She helped with everything from greeting clients to operating office machines. She felt more confident in her abilities each day as she applied her classwork to the field.

While talking with her classmates, Corisa discovered that they were also in tough situations. She knew how hard it was to struggle with reliable transportation or to afford good clothing for an interview. She also knew firsthand how FSC could help. Corisa went out of her way to connect with her classmates after hours and ensure they had the resources to graduate and pursue their dreams.

We know Corisa will bring her initiative and compassion to others in her new role with ThedaCare. Congratulations, Corisa!

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Open Eyes, Bright Future

When Gregory enrolled in TrANS, he soon found himself juggling classes, homework, and his second shift job—it was hard for him to even find time to sleep. Taking a risk, Gregory decided to quit his job and focus full-time on TrANS and learning everything he could about construction. Now the only regret he has is not taking that risk sooner.

“That was a little scary,” Gregory admits, but he realized that TrANS was the opportunity he needed to get ahead in life. He quit his job and committed himself to learning everything he could about the trades. “The first year in the industry is a learning time,” he tells us, adding “I need to take advantage of every experience to help me learn about this new trade.”

For Gregory, TrANS changed more than his career outlook. Construction gave him something to look forward to and take pride in. “I realized I had started taking better care of myself,” he says. “I was eating better, getting more sleep, and being careful to keep myself healthy for this new career, because it would be physically demanding.” His mental outlook also changed. “I knew what I wanted [before], but I never had goals,” says Gregory. “That changed when I enrolled in TrANS. I knew my goal was to get employed in construction and make a career of it.”

Today, he’s working with Western Remac, replacing signage throughout southern Wisconsin. “I’m growing as a person,” he says. “This job means the world to me. There is a huge amount of pride to look at what I have helped to create. To see the changes within myself and to see my life as it is now means more than I can express.”

Way to go, Gregory!

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Necole Finds Family Here

For Necole, family is one of the most precious things in the world. Her mother has been her key ally throughout life, and she loves her children like they are made of pure gold. So we knew her recent success meant a lot to her when she approached her Wisconsin Works team and told them, “You are all like my family.”

“We were more than happy to help!” said her case manager, Christa. Necole started working with Christa almost two years ago. Although Necole’s mother was extremely helpful with daily activities, Necole was struggling to keep a good job.

With Christa’s support, Necole volunteered at numerous locations, completed classes, and even found literacy support. “She was willing to try anything to support her family,” says Christa. Necole’s friendly demeanor made her a great office assistant, and she even volunteered as a housekeeper. Despite her progress, Christa noticed that Necole was still having a hard time doing things independently.

Christa asked Necole if she would be willing to take an assessment with RCS Empowers, Inc., a partner of ours who helps people with disabilities. The results provided new grounds to begin pursuing Social Security benefits to help Necole take care of herself and her family. Christa quickly connected with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the local Aging and Disability Resource Center to coordinate the Social Security application and hearing.

Working together, they succeeded in helping Necole and her family find new stability and resources with Social Security benefits. This means she will receive a regular income to care for her family while she works with people who can nurture her independence. When she got the news, Necole told our team that “You are all like my family. Thank you for your love, help, and understanding.”

We are so happy for you. Congratulations, Necole!

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Anyelika’s Dreams Now Possible

“I swear this girl was not letting anything stop her,” says Christa, a case manager with Wisconsin Works. She’s talking about Anyelika, the amazing young woman we want to tell you about today. For her, FSC is more than just a great support for her family – it’s also a tool she’s using to find opportunities she’d only dreamed about before.

About seven years ago, Anyelika moved from Puerto Rico to the U.S. to start a family. Her youngest daughter needed special care, so she stayed at home with her girls. Things changed for Anyelika last December when she made the tough decision to move her daughters to Wisconsin alone. Thankfully, Wisconsin Works was one of the first resources Anyelika learned about when she arrived in the state.

She talked with Christa, her case manager, about her dream of becoming a midwife or cosmetologist. They immediately started finding a way to make those dreams come true, starting with getting established in the area. They found housing, a primary care doctor, and childcare. Her youngest daughter started in the Family Care Head Start Program, to help her get ready for kindergarten. Then, Christa went with Anyelika to Lakeshore Technical College to enroll in English literacy classes.

Once Anyelika realized just how much she could accomplish, she never looked back. Even when medical issues arose, she was still raring to go. “One time when she came in for her W-2 appointment,” says Christa, she had an IV “line in her arm and a smile on her face.” Soon, Anyelika felt ready to train for her first job in Wisconsin.

That’s when Anyelika started Office Professionals training. Now every time she met her team, she had a new skill to show them. She loved learning the different programs “and all the things she can now do on the computer that she could never do before,” says Christa.

Anyelika secured several interviews after the training and has just started her first job! She enjoys working at Goodwill NCW and says it’s a big relief to have a steady income. Plus, with a stable job, she believes that her dreams are now possible.

Way to go, Anyelika!

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Kate’s Pride and Joy

In July 2017, Kate was sitting in her parent’s living room, rocking her newborn baby, and thinking about her future. She had already started college and was working to become a medical laboratory technician. As a single mother, however, she felt completely overwhelmed, wondering how to afford school while taking care of her baby. She knew she had to look for a way to make her dream possible. “When I decided to contact the W-2 office, I was anxious, because asking for help is not easy,” says Kate. “But sometimes being strong means asking for help.”

A wave of relief and hope swept over Kate as soon as she met her team. “When I met [my case manager] Amanda, I knew that she was going to be a person I could trust and confide in,” Kate explains. “She’s knowledgeable… and I looked forward to our meetings, because our discussions would boost my morale, and I would leave with new goals.”

As Kate grew, W-2 adapted to her needs. She started by learning how to balance college with a newborn. As her little boy learned to walk and talk, she earned her first summer job in the field. By her second year, her outstanding performance earned her the honor of being her program’s graduation speaker. “I had a sense of pride from all that I had accomplished in two years and couldn’t help but smile when I thought about my son, knowing it was all for us,” she says, adding “I know he will understand my sacrifices one day, and I hope that he looks to me as an example throughout his life.”

“Asking for help or confiding in people we trust can help us achieve our goals or motivate us to keep going,” says Kate. “The Wisconsin Works program helped me re-establish myself as a working member of society by believing in my goals, encouraging and helping me find solutions when I met obstacles, and providing me with financial assistance that helped me achieve them.”

Kate recently started her career as Medical Laboratory Technician with SSM Health and could not be happier. “The last two years of my life have laid the foundation for my future,” she says with a smile. “Attending college full-time would have been difficult without the support of the W-2 program. I am very thankful for the program and the people who make it possible.”

Congratulations, Kate!

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Kathleen: Part of American History

For Kathleen, TrANS opened up more than a career path. It opened the doors to becoming part of American history.

“I always had a fascination with construction,” she insists, “but with no experience or family or friends in the industry, I didn’t know how to break in.” She earned her CDL to see if she could make it as a driver. She had an excellent work history, but at 57, it was a bit longer than expected for an industry newcomer. Then she discovered the TrANS program and knew it was her chance to succeed.

After meeting her instructor Ranard and hearing some of the most impassioned messages of her life, however, Kathleen realized she wanted to explore other opportunities as well. They toured union halls, where Kathleen was so impressed that she decided to join the Operating Engineers 139.

“I learned how to operate every piece of equipment from skid steers to cranes, bulldozers to excavators,” she says. She hadn’t had math in over 35 years, so she studied in her own time from a GED book. “The class arranged for us to take union tests together as a group, and the tests were not easy. Without TrANS, I’m not sure I would have passed.”

Today, Kathleen has contributed to some huge projects, from building railroad beds in North Dakota’s oil boom district to building an interstate bridge over the Mississippi. “I’ve helped build waste water treatment facilities, power plants, paper mill expansions, and updates to nuclear plants,” Kathleen tells us. “My main motivation is being part of something bigger than me – getting together with a bunch of people I never knew before and creating something from nothing that will outlive me and be useful to countless people.”

Kathleen says that Ranard’s leadership and the TrANS program made this possible. “I give TrANS much credit for me being in the construction industry. Ranard’s commitment doesn’t cease after graduation. I graduated in 2013, and if I don’t contact him with updates, he’s contacting me,” she says, adding “These experiences are priceless to me. We are all a part of American history in some small way in this industry.”

Great work, Kathleen!

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Isaiah’s Success

After a lifetime in Africa, Isaiah immigrated to in Wisconsin in the dead of winter. He spent three months trying to get off the ground, but adjusting to a completely new country had challenges he never anticipated. He started looking for resources and found FSC. Six months later, and he’s ready to call Wisconsin his home.

Isaiah had three goals: find a home, get a car, and start a career. Since we met him, he’s checked these off one-by-one. Isaiah started by learning the basics with his FSC team – things like navigating the city, finding resources, and figuring out how to use public transportation. Soon, he found a place to live. Before long, he started studying for his driver’s test. His readiness to learn stood out to his team, and they asked if he’d be interested in learning construction. He eagerly accepted the challenge.

TrANS is an intense six-week training course, but Isaiah had to learn even more than the typical student to graduate. His FSC team tutored him on things like measurements and the US money system so he could pass the Accuplacer test by the end of the course. They also walked through the application process with him. “I managed to overcome my challenges by working hard and completing tasks ahead of time,” Isaiah tells us.

His hard work was swiftly rewarded. The day after he applied, Isaiah was offered a job with Maly Roofing. The same week, Isaiah passed his driver’s test and bought a car!

“He’s enjoying everything he is learning about roofing and is happy that he finished the TrANS program,” says Lorie, Isaiah’s TrANS instructor. “I wasn’t sure how long it would take for Isaiah to achieve these goals, but I knew it would happen. What a wonderful success!”

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Isaiah!

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Ashley’s Reason to Smile

Positivity is a choice that Ashley makes every day. A few years ago, she went through a divorce. It left her with five children, no income, and an uncertain future. Through it all, she focused on making sure her children had a strong role model. She kept a smile on her face and powered through everything, until at last she joined Wisconsin Works this Spring. Now, she’s smiling on the inside just as much as she is on the outside.

In W-2, Ashley found the support she needed to get her family stable at last. With a special needs son who required full-time care, she hadn’t been able to actively look for work before. Ashley worked with Marisa, her W-2 case manager, to turn this around. By July, she found a safe home for her family. This school year, her son is finally at a point where he can succeed in school. And now, Ashley’s starting her career in customer service!

Ashley says that she could see and feel that Marisa genuinely believed in her, and the vouchers and cash assistance helped her get her family back on track. “She believes it is necessary to put in the hard work to find the career you really want,” says Marisa, adding that “the motivation Ashley received here is what lead her to gain employment so rapidly.”

This September, Ashley started her new job as a cashier with Family Dollar, and she’s impressed them so quickly that she’s already in training to become an assistant manager. “I’m the person who turns frowns upside-down,” she tells us. She loves making people’s day in customer service and working with a supportive manager and team. After earning a promotion, Ashley even hopes to go to school for business management.

Congratulations, Ashley!

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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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