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 NurseWith 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!

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Amanda Pursues Her Passions
Congratulations to Amanda, who recently started her new job at Americollect! We know she’s going to do great work, because we’ve seen her skills first-hand. A graduate of our Call Center Professionals class, Amanda knows that training with Wisconsin Works is about more than getting a certificate.
A mother of two, Amanda enrolled in Wisconsin Works to find a family-supportive career she’d love. Once she started training, she knew she’d come to the right place. “She was so impressed with the instructor and how he assisted her even after the class to answer her questions,” says Lori, Amanda’s case manager, of Amanda’s experience in our Resume Essentials workshop.
When Amanda learned that there were even more specialized courses available, she jumped at the chance to join our Call Center Professionals class. Amanda thrived. She earned a digital badge with credit from Madison College. She even found herself declining job offers so she could find the perfect fit. That fit came quickly when she networked with Americollect and earned a full-time position.
Amanda loves putting her skills to work each day and still enjoys benefits from her time in W-2. By continuing to work with us after starting her career, Amanda got a Job Access Loan. This helped her buy a desk and chair to set up her from-home workspace. Plus, through W-2 she was able to pursue a personal passion: volunteering with veterans. She continues to work one-on-one with vets in her spare time, stating that it motivates her to be a better person all-around.
Great job, Amanda!
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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!!

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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!!

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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.

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Buckling Down to Work Up

“I did everything Angie said, and I got the job!” Dawanna announced to us the minute she was hired at Spectrum. As soon as she got started with usDawanna said she was looking for a career with advancement opportunities. Given how much she’s already overcome to get here, we know she’s going to be working her way up non-stop. 

“Despite what seemed like one obstacle after another, Dawanna did not lose heart or give up,” says our Job Developer Angie. She was in the middle of several big changes – including escaping domestic violence, mourning the death of a loved one, and raising a young child with another on the way. Naturally, it was hard for Dawanna to conduct a job search, but it got a whole lot easier with FSET and Wisconsin Works.  

She worked closely with Angie to pursue the fresh start her family needed. They found resources for childcare, clothing, and much more. Meanwhile, Dawanna buckled down to find a career with family-friendly hours and advancement potential. She even volunteered at our office to get clerical experience.  

It all paid off when she was offered a Customer Service position with Spectrum. She says that this job is her livelihood. It will let her take care of her kids, pay her bills, and even have time to spend with them at the end of the day. She hopes to excel in her current position and eventually earn a management role 

Congratulations, Dawanna!  

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Calling the Shots

Check out the uniform! Danielle joined Wisconsin Works for paid maternity leave, but when she learned that they could put her dreams within reach, she decided to stick around and even joined FSET for more. Now, Danielle has earned her degree, is starting her career, and plans to reach for the stars. 

Although she’d been in healthcare before, Danielle had all but given up on staying in the field. She settled for other work, but when she became pregnant, Danielle feared that it wouldn’t be enough to support her child.  

Her worries turned to joy when she talked with her case manager and found out that the resources she needed were a few steps away. Thanks to our partners at NWTC, Danielle quickly enrolled in their medical assistant program. She earned her degree and worked with W-2 and FSET to establish solid references and prepare for life as a working mom. Before completing her clinical, Danielle had a job offer from Prevea 

“Danielle is hard-working and never quits,” says her case manager. “She is so excited to begin working in this profession.” Danielle plans to continue her education, with hopes of becoming an OB-GYN. Congratulations, Danielle! 

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