Lifelong Learning

Say hello to Whitney, a single mom who’s proving that lifelong learning and a great attitude are key to overcoming anything – even the concern about hiring someone with a baby bump. With three other children to provide for, Whitney wasn’t about to postpone her job search until birth. Instead, she joined Wisconsin Works, started training, and earned her first job in management!

Whitney was excited to explore careers with us, especially those with a good schedule for her growing family. She started with FSC’s Office Professionals course. Most of her experience so far was on the farm and in retail, so working regularly with computers was new. Plus, she discovered how much she liked the environment while volunteering at the front desk.

Then Whitney decided to stretch her wings with our Logistics Professionals course, where she learned all about the complex operations involved in getting goods to customers.

She saw every training opportunity as means of proving herself in a different field. “It showed employers that she had enough motivation to commit,” says her case manager, Nikki, adding that “our training really showed her what life could be like working in that environment and got her excited for the possibilities.”

In fact, when Security Finance saw Whitney’s motivation, they decided to offer her a full-time position as Assistant Manager! She’s excited to get this opportunity and says it’s more than she’d even hoped for. She intends to keep learning on the job and even hopes to save up for college. Congratulations, Whitney!

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Michael’s New Life

Michael was a foreman before an injury put him out of work for over two years. He joined Wisconsin Works and FSET to find his way back into the workforce and show his daughter what it takes to be successful. He ended up finding a support network that’s “opened up a whole new life and respect for myself and what I can accomplish.”

“Words cannot express the help I received through the networking of programs,” says Michael. First, he got stable housing with Emergency Assistance. With rent off his shoulders, Michael was able to set goals for the future. His top priority:  finishing his education. Within two months, he had already earned his HSED and was thinking ahead.

Then Michael’s case manager Karen connected him with WIOA, The Prosperity Center, and FVTC, to put him in position to earn his CDL. They provided both the emotional and financial support he needed to succeed.

“This training has made it possible for me to go on to more dreams with endless possibilities,” Michael tells us, adding that “Karen helped with mental support, guidance to keep going…and finding positive outcomes to barriers in my life.”

Shortly after earning his CDL, Michael started his full-time job driving a dump truck with Faulks Brothers. This career means the world to him. He enjoys working with the company, and he’s being the good example he wants to show his daughter each day. His next goals:  save up, build credit, and buy a home.

Congratulations, Michael!

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Bethany’s New Future

Bethany is a survivor who escaped an abusive relationship, and in doing so, was forced to quit her job. She began business classes and worked temporary jobs, but her income wasn’t enough to support herself and her daughter. “It was to the point where I was pawning off my belongings to pay my electric bill, and I couldn’t afford rent anymore,” she tells us. If you’re in a similar situation, she wants you to know there is hope. “With the help and support of the W-2 program, I am living proof you can be self-sufficient and support yourself and your children.”

Bethany says, “We can’t go back in time and change the past. But we can give ourselves a chance to create a new future and ending.”

In W-2, she got Emergency Assistance to help with rent, immersed herself in positive role models, and started training for the future she wanted. Bethany enrolled in CDL training, which gave her the credentials and motivation she needed to move forward. She also took our Essentials classes, which helped her prepare for interviews, search for good jobs, and develop workplace skills. Meanwhile, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, where she gained experience and connected with caring individuals who she says, “instilled my confidence in the goodness of people again.”

With all these pieces in place, Bethany was soon offered a full-time job that “is going to launch my dreams with room for growth, travel, and so many possibilities.” She also just received approval for a Job Access Loan that will help her get her car fixed so she can get to work.

As she reflected on the progress she’s made, Bethany’s advice to others is: “Be so stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods. Things might not happen for you right away and that’s okay. We all have different journeys to take and never give up on yours!”

“In your own time you will heal, find your voice, and get your power back. You are stronger than anyone or anything that tried to break you.”

Congratulations!! Thank you for being an inspiration.

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Kresge Foundation Awards Grant to NWTC for BOOST Initiative

The Kresge Foundation has awarded a $495,000 grant to NWTC to participate in the BOOST initiative, with Forward Service Corporation as its human services partner. This connects people with low incomes to the support services they need to successfully juggle work, family, and school. Read the full press release here.

Educational opportunities like this are key to getting family-supportive careers. We’re proud to be a partner with NWTC in this exciting initiative!

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Jeremy’s Stepping Forward

After a health issue forced Jeremy from the manufacturing floor, he didn’t how to get his life back on track. At first he came to FSET with the hope of returning to his old routine and job. But he quickly scrapped that idea, when he realized that this was his chance to pursue his dreams.

Jeremy worked with his case manager Tiffany to set goals that they could achieve together, like getting a driver’s license and getting clearance to work from his doctor. They also talked about the kind of career he wanted to explore. When Jeremy mentioned customer service, Tiffany knew just how he could get started.

Jeremy volunteered at the FSC front desk, where he created a welcoming atmosphere and learned his way around the office. “Every person who came through the door was important to Jeremy,” says Tiffany. “He discovered he also had some great ideas to share with folks who came in, as well as the ability to listen and offer a bit of advice along the way.” As they worked together, Tiffany saw him become more independent and confident.

Soon, Jeremy started taking bigger steps: earning his driver’s license and applying for work. Whenever he felt anxious about moving onto something new or unknown, he would look toward his dreams and push forward.

“It’s easy to lose your step and go backwards, but eventually taking the next step, even if it’s a baby step, is a sure way to succeed,” Jeremy says.

Now, he’s starting his new job as a host at Applebee’s Grill & Bar. Jeremy is hoping to save up for a home of his own and feels like he’s found the perfect way to ease back into the workforce. We know you’ll be great, Jeremy, and we can’t wait to keep working with you. Congratulations!

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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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