Shymuria Earns Her Diploma

Congratulations to Shymuria, who’s recently earned her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)! This is a key step to moving forward with her career and personal goals. While she was pregnant and considering her options, however, it was not the first thing on her mind.

“It took me a while to sit back and realize an HSED is what I needed and wanted,” says Shymuria, who joined our Wisconsin Works (W-2) program this spring for help with maternity leave. Although she had enrolled in W-2 before, and even started working with a local college to earn her diploma, her plans were derailed by the pandemic.

Since then, a lot has changed for Shymuria, who set aside her educational plans. But as her family grew, she realized that having her HSED in-hand would be the best way to give them a stable way of life. Plus, it would give her the opportunity to secure a job she really wanted. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was that an HSED was the way to go. And this time, Shymuria knew that W-2 could help her get maternity leave and prepare for a family-supporting career beyond.

A New Side to a Familiar Program

Fortunately for Shymuria, she even had a familiar face on her team while making this transition.

“Shymuria and I previously worked together when she last enrolled in the program,” says Tessa, a Senior Case Manager with W-2. Tessa describes Shymuria as a go-getter, noting that she is “one of the strongest people I know.”

In fact, this time around, Shymuria already had a plan. The timing was crucial: earn her HSED during the summer, before her children returned to school.

So together, they made a plan that would work while she cared for her newborn. Tessa helped Shymuria reorient herself and get support during maternity leave. Then she quickly connected Shymuria with one of our newest resources in the W-2 program: an Education Navigator who specializes in helping parents and their families move forward with their educational goals.

In this case, Shymuria’s Education Navigator was Ashleigh.

A Mom with a Plan

To keep on track, Shymuria met with Ashleigh and Tessa every week for resources and motivational support. She also took our in-house Job Search Essentials course, a class that teaches participants how to prepare for and keep a steady job with good wages.

“The help from Ashleigh and Tessa and taking Job Search Essentials was the support I needed,” Shymuria says. Shymuria completed the class in early July, which helped her earn a part-time job before the summer was over.

In the meantime, she started HSED courses at Western Technical College. With regular support from Tessa and Ashleigh, she had her diploma in-hand before summer was over – just as planned!

Today, Shymuria is working on the next steps of her dream. With plans to move back to Green Bay, she’s working with her Education Navigator to continue her education at NWTC. Employment is helping Shymuria save for more reliable transportation, and she plans to keep working with W-2 to keep her family strong as they pursue their dreams together.

Keep up the great work, Shymuria! We’re happy to be on your team.


If you know a parent who wants a better job, let them know that Wisconsin Works (W-2) could help them get the education and training they need.