A Reputation for the Best
Brandon advises anyone interested in construction to remember that “Your reputation begins in the classroom!” Construction is a small world, meaning that names get around fast. That’s also why a recommendation from our TrANS Coordinator Lorie carries so much weight. When she tells contractors about student with everything it takes, they know it’s true. Brandon’s worked hard to build a reputation for hard work and respect, and it’s paid off big in this life-changing industry.
“I have excellent credit scores. I purchased a house. I have eliminated my $30K debt, and I have no stress about finances,” Brandon states. Before starting TrANS construction training, Brandon “lived off everyone I knew because I couldn’t make a go of things, so my self-esteem and self-worth were low,” he explains. He was broke, unemployed, and depressed — until TrANS gave him the chance to prove himself. He pushed himself to the max from the first day of training and was rewarded with a career that made all the difference.
“This job has meant everything to me,” he insists. Brandon was hired by Zignego Company just a few weeks after graduating. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his first paychecks and says he knew “then and there that a career in construction was the right path for me.” After four years there, he accepted an offer from Zenith Tech – A Walbec Group Company. He’s in the union and is working through his apprenticeship. “It has changed my life completely around,” he says, adding that “It’s hard to put into words. I’ve grown up.”
Congratulations, Brandon!
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Amy Jump-Starts 2021
A forward-thinking and determined mom, Amy immediately looked for ways to provide stability for her son. Her family welcomed them into their home, and Amy got to work looking for resources. “Amy is very determined but is not afraid to reach out when she needs help,” says Alleigh, Amy’s case manager, adding that “She is a planner and is always looking to the future.”
Wisconsin Works helped Amy afford car repairs and gas while she sought job leads with her team. It didn’t take long before she accepted a job offer from Parkview Nursing and Rehab!
Amy also learned how to start looking for a home, with help from our partners at Habitat for Humanity and NeighborWorks. She hopes to work with these programs in the future as she saves up for a home of her own.
Congratulations, Amy!
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Shannon Switches Gears

This time last year, Shannon never would have expected to see herself enjoying a job in manufacturing. She’d always been in health care, so she never even considered manufacturing a possibility. When Covid forced her to reconsider her options, however, Shannon came to FSC and learned how valuable her talents were across the board.

“She really enjoys the various aspects of her new position,” says her FSET Case Manager Chasong. He helped Shannon realize that manufacturing could be a great career for her. Shannon had initially come to FSET and Wisconsin Works (W-2) to support her family while searching for an opening in health care. Once Covid hit, it shut down so many options in her field, however, and she was struggling to get her daughter into daycare and keep a roof over their heads. After learning more about her interests and the various local openings in manufacturing, Shannon realized that it was exactly what her family needed right now.

Shannon got the resources she needed to switch careers quickly. Our partners at Lakeshore CAP and WHEAP helped her pay rent. Shannon started our Essentials Courses to build a resume geared toward manufacturing. She worked with Wisconsin Works to find a good childcare that was accepting new children during Covid. Then she worked with her FSC team to find family-friendly openings nearby. After she was hired, FSET even helped her get gas vouchers for her commute.

Shannon recently started a full-time job with Locate Staffing at Subco Foods. She’s been impressed by a flexible schedule, so her daughter can attend daycare. They’re just as impressed with her — last we heard, she was even considering training as a Machine Operator.

Congratulations, Shannon!

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Sarah’s Dreams Are Coming True
Dream Boards are fun activity that we do at the start of each Office course, to help our students focus on what’s most important to them. We often use paper and glue, but Sarah took it a step further by designing a whole comic strip using the programs she was learning in the course. That just goes to show the drive and initiative that are taking this mom’s dreams to new heights.
For most of her life, Sarah stayed home to raise her three beautiful daughters. During her divorce, she struggled to find a job that could support them and started looking up options. She learned that WIOA could help her get training. Soon, Sarah was learning how she could use her skills and interests to start a promising career she’s love. Meanwhile, WIOA’s Cheryl encouraged Sarah to start a part-time career while she was in school, stating that Wisconsin Works and FSET were the places to start.
“She wants to learn and takes the time to figure things out,” says Diana, with Wisconsin Works. Sarah brought the tools she’d gained in WIOA to her new teams, using them to decide what short-term training would help her quickly start the right career. Office Professionals was the perfect fit. Through the class, she picked up a new computer system, learned several essential office programs, and built a sense of camaraderie with her classmates. “She always had so many positive things to say about the Office Professionals class because of her Skills Instructor,” says Diana.
Meanwhile, Sarah buckled down on her job search with her FSET and W-2 teams. By the time she graduated from the class, Sarah had earned a full-time job with Kelly Services. Sarah is more reassured than ever before, knowing that she can provide for her daughters. She enjoys continuing to learn on the job and putting her office skills to use. Plus, she is putting money aside for school and plans to start a graphic design program in January.
Congratulations, Sarah!
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Shawna’s Success
Shawna had just gotten a teaching job in a local daycare when the pandemic struck. Working with others who loved youngsters was a dream come true. She was pregnant with her third child, and her employer readily identified with her needs as a mom. The only problem was how to get there. The city bus schedules were becoming more erratic, and her pregnancy put her in the high risk group for catching Covid — not ideal for using public transportation. Shawna needed a car of her own, fast.
Thankfully, fast is exactly what she found with WETAP. Shawna was overjoyed when she was approved for an interest-free loan to buy a car of her own. In a heartfelt letter of thanks, she writes that “I am very excited about the positive changes in my life… and my ability to obtain a safe and reliable vehicle for myself and my children.”
To her, this vehicle means reassurance. Shawna knows she can keep the job she loves. She can keep her children safe from the pandemic. She can protect and provide the best for her family — all without interest.
Congratulations, Shawna!
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Vakia’s Success

Vakia moved to Wisconsin to make a better life for her daughters — when she learned about FSC, she realized there was no better time to change her stars, too. She’d spent years working her way up in fast food to become a manager. When she came home each day, though, Vakia was always humming a beat or reviewing new lyrics running through her head. She just didn’t have much time to put them on paper. That’s all changed after launching a new career with the help of our Essentials courses.

“She always had a bubbly personality and was open to anything we referred her to,” says Brooke, her FSET Employment Specialist. Vakia was away from family for the first time, so she joined FSET and Wisconsin Works to help support her children while looking for work. Vakia was blown away by our training options, and she decided to take advantage of every course in our Essentials series, from Financial Wellness to Job Searching.

Although the pandemic has changed job searches across the country, Vakia felt prepared to tackle anything. She planned her career path with Brooke, crafted a stellar resume with our Computer Lab Instructor Tina, and honed her soft skills with our Essentials Instructor Vincent. Meanwhile, Account Representative Craig hooked her up with virtual job fairs and helped her network with employers.

Before she knew it, Vakia was accepting a full-time position with Robert Half! She is working from home, which means less time on a commute and more time with her daughters every evening— and more time to write songs for her first hit album.

Congratulations, Vakia!

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Amanda’s New Horizons

When Amanda’s employer went under, she decided to turn unemployment into an opportunity to retool her career. She’d often hoped for an office position, so she could spend more time with her children. Without any recent experience, however, Amanda thought it would be a long shot. That is, until she learned more about the opportunities she had with FSC.

Amanda was starting to feel discouraged before she joined FSET and Wisconsin Works. She quickly discovered that they worked together like a well-oiled machine, designed to bring her goals to fruition. Amanda learned the skills she needed to thrive in the office environment, through our Office Professionals training. Then she volunteered as a receptionist at the 9th Street Wellness Center, thanks to a great connection from her case manager. Meanwhile, Amanda prepped for interviews with Kevin, her Job Developer, and took every job lead he passed her way.

Soon, Amanda landed the position she’d been looking for. She started working full-time with Cherry Optical and is excited for the opportunities she sees on the horizon. Congratulations, Amanda!

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Kimberly’s Success

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!

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