Congratulations to Kimberly, a recent graduate of Respiratory Therapy at NWTC! After three years in the program, we’re proud to announce that she graduated debt-free with high honors. Plus, she’s starting her career at St.Vincent’s Hospital! “Going into a health field program is very time consuming,” she warns, but thanks to WIOA, she was able to focus on her studies and race past the finish line.
On top of classes, Kimberly had 12 hours of clinicals at hospitals across Northeastern Wisconsin every week. She decided to quit her part-time job to focus on school, but she still had bills to pay. Kimberly says the support of her parents and WIOA made all the difference.
“My parents were a huge help if I needed extra money once in a while,” she says, adding that WIOA’s budgeting counsel helped her make that money last. She adds that “WIOA also helped pay for books and classes, which allowed me to use the money I did have on rent, gas, and food.”
“She made understanding and going through this program very easy for me,” says Kimberly, referring to her Career Planner, Tracy. Kimberly worked with Tracy to get through college and focus on starting a career afterward. “Her encouragement and support helped keep me going and gave me faith that I could succeed,” she says. Kimberly wants to encourage other students to learn more about WIOA, “College is expensive and having programs out there like this one that help students succeed is a life saver… It is truly such a big support and helps tremendously!”
Kimberly currently works part-time at St. Vincent Hospital. She hopes to earn a full-time position “in the near future and get good critical care experience there over the next few years.”
Great job, Kimberly!
“I started attending the W-2 program, learning all over again in a different world how to be independent,” says Tracie. She learned everything from how to find work to how to ride the bus. “I know that sounds silly, but I had never done it before,” she states.
She had also never been allowed to find work before. Our Essentials classes helped Tracie get her footing, with practice interviews, resume writing, and more. She also got vouchers for transportation and interview clothes and signed up for FoodShare. This gave her a big boost, qualifying her for additional job searching help through our FSET program.
With our team at her back, Tracie earned her first job as a crew member at Burger King. She was so grateful for the good starting wage that she did whatever it took to excel. Her hard work paid off, and she was promoted to a managerial position within just six months!
“During these past nine months, [my case manager] Sonya has kept in contact with me, encouraging me the whole way,” Tracie states. “This program works great, as long as you put your all in.”
Tracie says that learning how to take advantage of her freedom has transformed her into a new person. She is saving up for a car and is “overflowing with hope and gratefulness.”
Margaret seemed to be doing everything right to get ahead— training, showcasing her talent, and earning certificates. Nonetheless, she recalls having “a 3-ring binder of certifications and licenses but not making enough money to make ends meet.” Margaret felt like she was drowning in a job market that just wasn’t giving her a chance. That chance came when TrANS staff helped Margaret get the notice she deserves.
“I chose TrANS because of the relationship I had with Tucker’s Truck Driving Academy,” says Margaret. Mr. Tucker knew she was having a hard time finding local jobs that used her CDL. He also knew that Margaret could thrive in construction if she had the right connections.
TrANS was just such a connection. As soon as Margaret saw the job leads that were available through the program, she asked herself “How could I refuse?” She plowed through the training at record pace and networked with some of the top contractors in the state. Lorie, our TrANS Coordinator, was eager to show Margaret her potential in the industry. She invited Margaret to network at the Golden Shovel Awards, where “Margaret really shined and promoted herself with several of the bigger contractors,” says Lorie. She adds that “all were impressed and offered her interviewing opportunities.”
“I have been hired by the Walbec Group and am making the most money I have ever made in my life,” says Margaret. She’s since earned an apprenticeship with the Laborers’ Union and states that “the opportunities for advancement are endless here.”
With a life-changing career underway, Margaret finally has money to spare— and she’s using it wisely, too. She put money down on a home, invested in stocks, and gives back regularly. She even paid over a year of her mother’s mortgage, “and I still have money saved up in both my banks,” Margaret states.
What a difference! Congratulations, Margaret!!
Jenna Nurses Her Dreams to Life
One year ago, Jenna was wondering how to finish her nursing degree, when baby number four was due just before she was supposed to graduate. A resourceful mom, she reached out to her community for support. That’s how she learned that Wisconsin Works could keep her dreams on track.
Jenna was assured that continuing her education was both the best choice for her family and one that was within reach. While she finished her studies, Jenna got financial support and career guidance that propelled her career forward. By working with her Job Developer Craig, she secured what may have been the perfect start in healthcare.
Parkview Manor Health and Nursing and Rehabilitation was not only a solid start in her degree field, but they’re also just a great employer. They were happy to accommodate Jenna during pregnancy and maternity leave. Plus, they encouraged her to advance into a nursing role once she obtained her degree.
Then a flurry of transitions occurred, as Jenna welcomed baby into the world. Thanks to paid maternity leave from W-2, she focused on her family while recovering from childbirth. By continuing to work with her W-2 team, Jenna earned her degree and returned to work in June in her new role as a Licensed Practical Nurse! With her promotion came a raise, and after a short probationary period, she earned another well-deserved bump in pay.
She’s happy she stuck with her program and so grateful to W-2 and Parkview for their support during this momentous time in life. Congratulations, Jenna!
Amanda Pursues Her Passions
Nick’s Fast-Tracking His Dreams
Congratulations to Nick, who’s passion for cars has gotten him on the fast-track to his dreams! Although he’s fresh out of college, auto has been Nick’s calling for a long time. He earned scholarships from auto classes during high school, joined the Automotive Club in college, and recently graduated from Bay College with his Automotive Master Technician certificate. Nick has every reason to be confident in his skills, but Nick would also tell you that before joining WIOA, he wasn’t sure he’d make it.
Although Nick was nervous about asking for help, he soon realized that WIOA’s advocacy made him stronger and better prepared to take on the college life. For example, although Nick worked diligently throughout high school and college, he still couldn’t afford tuition. His WIOA advocate Zana helped Nick get tuition support and even afford the books and tools he needed for class. Through Zana’s prompting, Nick also networked in the Automotive Club and steadily worked toward his career goals.
“Zana helped me tremendously through my journey,” says Nick. “She is awesome to talk to when I’m in a bind about school or if I have any questions… It has just been an all out great experience for me, and I’m so fortunate to be with this program and as well as a great person to work with! Zana and the program made a big impact on my life!”
Shortly after graduation, Nick earned a full-time position with Lake Shore Systems in Iron River, Michigan. He’s moved to the area and enjoys knowing he’s on the path to a great career. Way to go, Nick!!
Empowered to be different
When Amber tells people she’s in construction, they’re always surprised to hear that she’s got one of the dirtier jobs. She drives a tack truck, a heavy vehicle that sprays sticky goop onto roads to prime them for asphalt. For Amber, though, the challenge is more than worth it.
“Even as exhausting and difficult [as] the work is, this job has saved me,” says Amber. “I have a lot more confidence. I feel better about who I am. This makes me a better mother, which makes me a better person.”
Before, Amber was a single mom driven to get a better life for her family. “I was stressed, worn out, and feeling beaten down,” she says. “I needed something that would bring me stability and financially help me.” She earned her commercial driver license, but Amber didn’t realize that construction was the opportunity she needed, until her instructors at Tucker’s Truck Driving Academy told her about TrANS.
“TrANS was something different; it offered me something different. Working in road construction, it allows me to be a part of something bigger,” says Amber. She comes home to her child each day with a smile on her face, knowing that “I’m doing something for my community, where I live. I am working on a project that is only a few minutes from my home.”
Since joining TrANS, Amber says she feels both more competent and confident than ever. After just five days on the job, Amber was offered the coveted opportunity to drive a tack truck. “I love it!! I know it is unusual that I work in road construction; that is very empowering. Now since I know I can do this, I want the biggest, baddest jobs out there. I want to prove to others, and to myself, that I can be more than some people thought I would be.”
You go, girl! Congratulations, Amber!!
Dennis Drives his Future Forward
“I came from a colorful history and managed to create a beautiful painting with it,” says Dennis. He used to deal with pain in all the wrong ways, eventually leading to life on the streets out West. Dennis saved up for a bus ticket to Wisconsin, carrying only a backpack, a smile, and the drive to move forward. At night, he often slept behind local buildings, but during the day, he was searching for a way to improve his situation. While visiting an event at the Oshkosh Salvation Army, he stopped by the FSET booth and found the second chance he’d been looking for.
Just a few hours after receiving an FSET business card, Dennis was in the FSC office, talking with his new case manager, Pashua, about his dreams. They walked through a lot of ups and downs together. At first, Dennis faced a common problem: interviews that didn’t turn into jobs. After discussing his options, Dennis decided to regain his commercial driver’s license. Although denied admission by local schools, Dennis was encouraged to enroll in Sabertooth Commercial Driver Training Institute.
FSET helped Dennis get driving privileges, earn his WI driver license, and find temporary housing. Dennis was fired up for classes to start, but then his housing fell through. “You know, after all I have given and all I have been through it breaks my heart to be homeless again,” he wrote to Pashua. Homelessness threatened his enrollment status, and Dennis needed money asap. “Please help get me in that school, so I don’t ever have to go through this again.”
That’s where our incredible partners at WIOA and Sabertooth came into play. Together, FSET and WIOA funded and prepared Dennis for training. Meanwhile, when Sabertooth heard about his predicament, they worked with FSET to help Dennis enroll and even found temporary housing for him during the course!
Just two days after earning his CDL, Dennis landed a great opportunity at MPJ Trucking. “To me, this job means I’ve accomplished something,” says Dennis. “My hard work paid off. It means I did not fail FSET. It means that I did not fail myself.”
Now, Dennis is saving up for a house and hopes one day to be a published author. Congratulations, Dennis! You are an inspiration to all of us.
Help People Get their $1200
Did you know that millions of people have not yet received their Economic Impact Payments? You can help these individuals access their $1200 before October 15.
Use the following guide to help individuals submit their information to the IRS by October 15, 2020 so they can get their funds this year. It’s designed for staff who work directly with low-income populations. It can help you both make people aware and provide support to those who need to take action to receive their EIP:
You can also click here for a customizeable flyer, like the one below. It’s made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to help you spread the word:
Thank you for your support!
The Joy of Independence
After being in prison for 30 years, Randy never expected to be where he is today: “Independent, making money at a job – a real job.” He’s had experiences you’ll have to hear to believe, and you’ll love what he plans to do next. Please watch his interview at to hear his inspirational story for yourself: https://buff.ly/3mfH3c5.
After sitting for this interview, Randy worked with us to find another position with better pay. He was able to purchase a car and is saving for a house. Congratulations, Randy! 😀 😀