“I am doing things that most women wouldn’t believe they could do,” says Heather, a recent graduate of the TrANS program. Heather joined Wisconsin Works to get back into the workforce, but she never expected her case manager to recommend construction as an option. When she looked at her two small children, however, Heather realized that she could achieve anything for them. That was all it took to get Heather on the road to the career she always wanted.
Heather quickly learned that making good money was just one benefit of working in construction. “I liked pushing myself to learn the things that I didn’t know and surprised myself with how well I was doing,” Heather tells us. Her instructor Lorie encouraged her to learn different skills and career paths in construction. “She had confidence in me, and as I learned the material, passed the trainings, and completed the program, I realized I could do everything that Lorie said I could.”
On Lorie’s advice, Heather signed up to earn her CDL. “Before I even started at the driving school, I had a contractor interested in hiring me,” she says. The day she graduated, they actually asked her up to their corporate office to offer her a better position with more hours. “I had my second daughter in October – soon after that had joined TrANS. Now I’m on my way to giving one of the best futures to my beauties! They deserve it!! I’m so happy to be a mom, excited, and so pumped now for learning new ways to be creative in the field I desire – never would have thought it.”
“This job means that I will be able to provide for my kids, to be a responsible parent. It has made me feel better about myself, more secure in what I do and what I can do in the future. This is the job that I have always wanted. I love it!”
Heather is currently doing roadwork with Payne & Dolan. When asked what advice she’d give others, she says to listen to others who are trying to help, because “sometimes they see your abilities better than you see them in yourself.”
Well done, Heather!
Rebecca has gone from the field of medicine to the beautiful forests of Wisconsin to find the job she loves. “I was working as a registered nurse when I decided that I just wasn’t happy with what I had chosen as a career,” says Rebecca. The long hours, a change in her family, and difficulty finding work in a new field convinced her that it was time “to go back to school and start over.” When a friend recommended she join Wisconsin Works while in school, she got the opportunities she needed to succeed!
As a full-time student and single mom, it was hard for Rebecca to find work that fit around her schedule. She found a job detailing boats during her first summer out of nursing and struggled financially, “but I was much happier working outside, and I sure wasn’t going to give up on my new journey.” That’s when she joined W-2 and FSET. She met with her case manager Renee, to create a plan for success. This included volunteering right in the office, where she got to build relationships with support staff, employers, other clients, and skills instructors. “Each person offered something unique to my success. Some of these included sharing hardship or success stories, offering a listening ear for those tough times, offering advice and help finding resources in the area, and the education necessary to be successful in the job search.”
With their support, Rebecca moved from boat detailing to full-time work as a grounds intern, before finding work at the Department of Natural Resources in two short-term positions in 2016 and 2017. She graduated from the Natural Resources program at Fox Valley Technical College in May 2017 and just started work as a Permit/Environmental Specialist at Mid-State Consultants. It’s part-time with benefits, giving her time to complete two more certificates at Fox Valley Tech – which she just earned this May!
“A major contribution for my advancement opportunities, I believe, were from all the help, support, and relationship-building skills I gained while in the W-2 and FSET programs,” she says. Renee “helped motivate me when all I wanted to do was give up with words of encouragement and just being there to listen.” Kerri helped her craft a resume and cover letter, “always let me know when area employers would be in for open interviews, and was the go-to for questions about employers in the area.” Rebecca also took a budgeting workshop that pinpointed where her money was disappearing each month and how to prioritize her payments. “I [still] use the budget worksheet today now that I have a steady income.”
Fantastic! Congratulations, Rebecca!