Zach’s Diligence Pays Off
Zach may be young, but he’s already proven himself a man of integrity. After losing his parents in his early teens, Zach had to move away from home but decided to do everything he could to keep his remaining family intact. On turning 18, he gained legal guardianship of his brother and finally moved back, where he became the sole provider for his family. Thanks to a great Work Experience through WIOA, Zach is now able to support his family with a full-time job that is funding his education at NWTC!
“Upon entering WIOA, Zach did not have a job but was attending college,” says Shelby, a Career Services Specialist with WIOA. He was determined to earn a college degree before entering the workforce, so he could start his family’s new life on the right track. “Zach is a hard worker and is never one to back down from a challenge.” says Shelby. “But above all, he is the most caring person you could ever meet and is always willing to help anyone.”
Zach wanted to get a job in his field, CNC machine operation, by the end of his second semester. Alongside the Bay Area WDB, WIOA helped him find a Work Experience as a machinist intern that turned into a paid internship while he was still in school. Zach’s skills and commitment turned this into a full-time job before he graduated with his technical degree. In fact, his employers were so impressed that they’re funding his continued education to earn his journeyman’s license this year!
Zach insists that any difficult experiences have shaped him into the person he’s become today. “I’ve used these bad experiences as a ‘what not to do’ kind of thing to encourage me to push myself as far into a good life and career as I can,” he tells us. He adds that his main barriers were always financial, “because I love what I do in my classes. I’m there because I want to learn, not because I have to be.”
That’s where resources like the Independent Living program, Oconto County Human Services, and WIOA stepped in to help cover his transportation and education. “Shelby has helped me with everything from doing my taxes, to applying for health insurance, to helping me find a job, and keeping up with everything at school. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Congratulations, Zach! We’re excited to see where you go from here!
Amanda’s First Year as a Mom
“Amanda and I love to share all our mommy highs and lows each time we meet,” says Der Lo, a Career Planner with WIOA. Their children were born only 18 days apart, about a month after these new mothers met for the first time last September. Amanda was working 2 jobs, and she longed to earn her GED so she could find a better paying job to support her son. “Fast forward to today,” Der smiles, “she has achieved these goals and so much more!”
This team of mothers-to-be got to business right away. Amanda’s drive and personality won over interviewers, but without a diploma, family-supporting jobs were just out of reach. Without delay, they switched gears. Amanda made it her new mission to earn her GED as quickly as possible. Der helped her enroll at the College Prep Center at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, where Amanda studied non-stop before the birth of her son in October. Afterward, finding study time was a struggle, but she quickly found the perfect newborn-friendly study spot at the Salvation Army Learning Center. While he slept, she studied and continued to apply for work.
Her dedication paid off. Soon, she was again offered a job on-the-spot. By springtime, she earned her GED. Today, she’s working full-time, earned a promotion, and is enrolled in college at NTC! “She is a superwoman for raising her son all on her own and achieving all the goals she sets for herself at such a young age,” Der insists. “I am excited to see how far Amanda has come and how much she has grown personally and professionally…[Her son] is so lucky to have her as his mom!”
“I want to thank you so much,” Amanda responds. “Without you, I would not be enrolled in college looking towards a better future.” Amanda says she’d like to be a Substance Abuse Counselor one day. Congratulations, Amanda! We’re very proud of you.