“I wanted something more,” says Rachee. “I liked building things with my hands, and I wanted to make a career doing that.” Although Rachee had experience in construction, he couldn’t seem to advance. Plus, with children to provide for, he wanted to get more than just another job. He just needed a chance to prove himself. After graduating from TrANS, we’re happy to say that Rachee has a career he loves!
“I knew that I could do the work, if I could get a little help,” Rachee states, adding that “TrANS was that help.” He was eager to grab hold of every opportunity the training provided. His instructor, Lorie, helped him with more than learning new skills – her excellent connections and job placement services helped him find the career start he’d been looking for.
“Now, I’m working with Interstate Sealant & Concrete (ISC),” he tells us. ISC works on roads, military bases, and airports across the nation, so Rachee enjoys travelling with his work. “That’s part of the fun,” he says, adding that “I’m making money, too! TrANS is an incredible program, that has allowed me to travel and work.”
Congratulations, Rachee! 😎
Larry told us that before TrANS, he was “in a dark place.” Repeatedly rejected by employers and depending on others for support, he said he grew frustrated and “tired of struggling to get by.” Through his hard work and training in the TrANS program, Larry’s future looks much brighter today.
With Lorie’s help, he dedicated himself to learning. This all paid off after graduation, as he launched his career with Payne and Dolan. It hasn’t stopped there: he is now a journeyman and says that “I see the evolution of my work performance. I can now get into a machine and work it.”
He credited Lorie with teaching the basic knowledge needed on the job and for providing career guidance. This, Larry said, helped him go from frustrated to hopeful and confident that this was the career for him.
So, how has his life changed since graduating TrANS? Larry says that he is certainly making more money, which means that instead of relying on others, he is now able to help them. “That,” he adds, “is a total blessing.” It has also shown him that his skills, talent, and dedication can take him as far as he wants in the industry.
Congratulations, Larry! We’re happy we could join you on your journey.
Please join us in congratulating Julia, a young mother who won’t let anything stop her from giving her newborn the best start possible. This March, Julia was nearing her due date when the pandemic struck. She was laid off, gave birth, and was living with family, but she didn’t feel safe. She joined the WIC program for support. When WIC learned about her situation, they immediately contacted Wisconsin Works. Thanks to this referral, she now has a full-time job, has just closed on her first house, and plans to attend college this fall.
When Julia joined Wisconsin Works, finding a safe home for her baby girl was her top priority. Julia worked with her case manager, Heather, to plan and pursue every step she needed to take. Julia soon found an affordable apartment, applied for housing with CAP Services, Inc., and got in touch with Emergency Assistance to help with a down payment.
With a safe place to live, Julia could finally pursue her long-term goals of saving up for a house and going back to school. First, she worked with Heather to find an opening at a local daycare. Then they got in touch with our WIOA Youth program to help her enroll at Mid-State Technical College this fall to complete her HSED. Finally, Julia crafted a resume and kick-started her job search.
Julia’s diligence and collaboration with W-2 made a great impression with the team at Piggly Wiggly, who soon offered her a full-time position!
For Julia, this job means being able to afford her first house, pursue her education, and save for her daughter’s future. Our partner, CAP Services Inc. helped Julia find and close on her first house this June. Going forward, she hopes to study for a future in accounting or healthcare with the support of our WIOA Youth program.
What we’re all about
For Sheri, Wisconsin Works is about much more than employment. Through her participation in W-2, she was able to bring her family out of homelessness and give them the fresh start they deserve. “Coming to see you every week is like going to church,” she told her case manager, Sarah, after starting her new career. “I bring all my burdens and problems to you, you help me figure it out and make a plan, and I just feel so much better after I leave. It’s truly amazing!”
“I told her it was my pleasure to help her through this part of her life,” says Sarah. “I was just her sounding board and her compass. She did all the hard work.”
Sheri built her credentials, confidence, and connections with W-2. She built a resume from scratch through our Essentials class, worked with her case manager every week to plan next steps, and got help with transportation. Sheri also connected with with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society. As a volunteer, she enjoyed working with the animals, got experience for her resume, and started to realize her talents.
Plus, thanks to our partnership with the Oshkosh Kids Foundation, Sheri and her son are no longer living in a shelter. They paid for two months at a motel, so she could find housing, and the security deposit once she found an apartment. They even helped put her son on the school bus route so he doesn’t have to take the city bus to school anymore.
“She went from being scattered and overwhelmed… to being able to focus and organize her thoughts and action plans to achieve her goals,” Sarah tells us.
When Sarah and Sheri last talked, Sheri was bursting with a confidence she’d never felt before. Sheri’s new career with Vista Care means providing a safe, supportive home for her son. She’s staying with W-2 as she gets settled, and she plans to apply for a loan with us so she can get a vehicle of her own soon. Congratulations, Sheri!!
Miriam’s Favorite Accomplishment
“I have come to realize that some of the worst times in life actually prepare you for some of the best and biggest blessings,” says Miriam. Her parents divorced when she was ten, leaving her mother with four children and tight finances. As a result of frequent moves and heath struggles, young Miriam had trouble keeping up in school. She never knew that one day she would be the first in her family to graduate college.
Miriam joined WIOA to achieve her lifelong dream of starting a career in healthcare. Her WIOA Career Planner, Shelby, immediately noticed Miriam’s compassion and talent in the field.
“WIOA helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined,” says Miriam. “Shelby and WIOA gave me financial help, guidance, structure, resources, and even emotional support. I received help with tuition, books, and gas cost to and from school. Through my monthly meetings, texts, and phone calls I… navigated things like financial aid, signing up for classes, job shadows, and project deadlines.”
Determined to get her start in healthcare, Miriam seized every opportunity to improve her credentials. She worked as a certified nursing assistant throughout college, set goals with WIOA, and even made the Dean’s List during her last semester.
Her hard work quickly paid off. Before graduating, Miriam secured a full-time position as a Neurodiagnostic Technologist with Marshfield Medical Center. A few months later, she graduated from FVTC with with her Associate Degree in Applied Science. By working with WIOA, Miriam was able to maintain all of her bills and has a plan for the future.
Miriam wants anyone struggling with anxiety to know that they can find relief while achieving their dreams, too. “It feels so good to have set that goal and to finally graduate,” says Miriam. She’s set a lot of great goals with us, “but I think my favorite,” she says “was just to learn how to handle and cope with my stress and anxiety. Working through these issues and finding relief has been such a huge accomplishment to me.”
Too Good Not to Try
When Edgar shared his dreams with his sister, she just had one recommendation: join TrANS. A graduate from the program, she knew Edgar could get everything he wanted if he just gave it a shot. At first, he was skeptical. He thought a free program that could get him into a high-paying career was too good to be true. Today Edgar says, “Now I feel like I not only have a future, but I am reaching for dreams that I never knew existed.”
“I wanted to find a job, work with a crew I liked, and focus on a career that I could just keep improving on,” says Edgar. Although Edgar didn’t have any construction experience, he loved the hands-on TrANS training that prepared him for what he’d be doing in the field. He graduated, applied, and waited for the offers to roll in – and when nothing came, he got in touch with his instructor, Lorie.
She stuck to her promise to help him find a job after graduation. Edgar took Lorie’s career guidance to heart. When she gave him an application for Trierweiler, he jumped on it. “Within a week,” says Lorie, “he had submitted the application, had an interview, and was offered a job.”
Today, Edgar loves his position in Quality Control with Treirweiler. “I really liked the crew I was working with, even when I was new, they were great,” he says, adding “There was a lot to learn, but it was always interesting… The company is going to have me take more classes to learn more about Q&C protocols. That’s exciting!”
Now, Edgar enjoys hearing his family brag about him to others and says that being able to provide for his family without worries is “a peace of mind that I can’t explain.”
Miguel’s in charge of his future
“With a family – three kids – I have a strong future,” says Miguel. He’s a TrANS graduate who earned a union position with Dane County Contracting before he even completed the program. This career has changed everything for Miguel, who tells us “I no longer have any financial pressures or worries.”
Before, Miguel had a full-time job, but he didn’t have the educational background that could advance him into a supervisory role. “I knew I was an asset, always being asked to train people” says Miguel, but he wasn’t satisfied with the lack of opportunities ahead. “I wanted to be a good provider, and I didn’t see that happening.”
Then a relative told him about the support she’d gotten from TrANS. “She had graduated from the program and was making great money,” says Miguel. Although the first class available was in a neighboring county, Miguel didn’t want to waste any time waiting. He charged ahead, studied hard, networked with industry professionals, and rolled right into CDL training after graduation.
Plus, TrANS connected Miguel with Dane County Contracting. After presenting to the class, their reps could clearly see Miguel’s talent and motivation. They asked to be the first to know when Miguel got his CDL, so they could make him an offer.
“I now have a CDL (the Golden Ticket), a career, a pension, and stability,” states Miguel. “It doesn’t matter the weather, the economy, etc. I know that I am in charge of my future now.”
David had just moved into his own apartment. It was great, but to fulfill his dream of independence, he needed one more thing: his own car. Just two problems: he’d just had foot surgery, and COVID-19 just closed a lot of options. Thanks to his perseverance and remote support from WETAP, though, David will be returning to work next week in a shiny, red Honda Accord!
While David was already on reduced hours because of his foot, he decided to use the extra time to find a way to get off the bus line. Simply put, the long commute had gotten old. When David learned that he could get a no-interest vehicle loan through WETAP, he was eager to apply.
“Although I was not able to meet David because of the Safer at Home order, we connected almost daily through emails, phone calls, and faxes,” says Kim, David’s Mobility Manager. Even though the pandemic has complicated how she connects with participants, Kim has been encouraged by their drive to push forward throughout it all.
Together, they applied, found a safe vehicle, and set up his budget so David could keep his dream alive. When asked about his future, David sent Kim these pictures of his new ride and said “No more buses! Thank you, Kim!”
Food Benefits for Kids
Good news! Children who would normally get free or reduced price meals through their school will receive food benefits while schools are closed due to COVID-19. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working to get these Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to families as we speak.
Benefits are available based on information already on file for children receiving free and reduced price meals. Here’s a breakdown of how they’re being distributed:
- If you’re on FoodShare, P-EBT benefits will be on your Quest Card. Benefits will be available on April 27 for March and April. Benefits will be available at the end of May for May and June. You’ll also see this notice in the mail to let you know about your P-EBT benefits.
- If you’re not enrolled in FoodShare but are in a different public benefit program, you’ll see P-EBT benefits either on your Quest Card or on a new P-EBT Card that looks like the one below. You’ll receive your P-EBT card in the mail with information on how to use it.
- If your information is not currently on file, you will be able to apply for benefits in early May. You’ll receive information on how to apply for benefits. If approved, you’ll also see a P-EBT card like the one pictured above in the mail.
The benefit amount for March and April combined is $176.70 per child who receives free or reduced priced meals. For May and June combined, the benefit amount is $148.20 per child who receives free or reduced priced meals. The benefits must be used within one year of being issued.
Dream Coming True
“I grew up in a small town and always dreamed about becoming a nurse,” says MiKayla. For a while, it seemed like everything was going according to plan. She got a job working as a Nursing Assistant and enrolled in college. Then she got tangled up in the wrong crowd. Thankfully, when MiKayla learned she was pregnant, she pulled out all the stops to untangle her life and provide a great future for her son.
“As soon as I found out, I knew I had to give up school and get a decent job so I could move and make a small life for my child,” says MiKayla. She had already quit nursing and found a clerical position to build up her bank account until childbirth. “They did not have paid maternity leave for new moms, so I had to use all of my savings… Having a newborn, paying all my bills, and having no income was incredibly hard.”
MiKayla quickly enrolled and got the help she needed to revive her dream. W-2 helped MiKayla pay her bills through maternity leave. They also helped her realize that she could still pursue her dream to become a nurse while being a model cleric and mom. When she got back to work, MiKayla even got bonus checks for keeping her job.
“Now, because I got support through W-2 and NFP, I am currently enrolled at Herzing University for Nursing,” MiKayla attests. “They are helping give me the opportunity to make my dream finally come true for me and my son. I will be able to give him an even better life now. I am so incredibly thankful!”