Phillip Designs A Bright Future

It was about four years after high school, and Phillip still wasn’t sure which career path was the right choice. The pandemic made finding consistent work difficult, which made it hard to save money for college or learn on-the-job about different options. Today, however, Phillip is enrolled in college and exploring interior design in the field, after discovering our new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program in the Fox Valley.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young adults have been well documented in recent years: delayed financial prospects and less classroom time are among them. According to World Bank, “Forty million people who would have had a job in the absence of the pandemic did not have one at the end of 2021, worsening youth unemployment trends. Youth earnings contracted by 15% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.”

Even more troubling is the body of research suggesting that young adults who enter the labor market during times of economic trial experience long-term negative social and economic consequences – meaning that without getting back on track quickly, young people like Phillip are at risk for a lot more than just a temporary setback.

During this time, however, hope has also blossomed in the form of programs like WIOA, which recently opened in the Fox Valley. Since joining the program, Phillip has found the resources and guidance necessary to enroll in college, plan an exciting career in interior design, and exercise those design skills in the field.

“The WIOA Youth program helped me to realize I can achieve goals I had never thought possible,” Phillip says. “I never thought attending college was a real possibility, but this program was able to assist me every step of the way.”

Phillip started FVTC’s Interior Design program this spring. While attending school, Phillip also began a work experience at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Oshkosh, using donated merchandise to create displays and mock rooms on the salesfloor.

Congratulations, Phillip!

Do you know a young adult in the Fox Valley who could use some help starting their career? Tell them about the WIOA program!


“COVID-19’s Impact on Young People Risks a Lost Generation.” World Bank. 16 February 2023.

von Wachter, Till. “The Persistent Effects of Initial Labor Market Conditions for Young Adults and Their Sources.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Vol. 34. No 4, 2020. 168-94.