Ashley’s Work Shines with Joy!

Ashley has the kind of quiet energy that amazes. One day, she’s just starting to volunteer at the front office, and the next, she’s organized the entire area, polished it to a tee, and is working on a new announcement board. Even better, that’s exactly what she loves to do, and she’s just been hired on at Aurora Hospital to make their facilities shine!

“We were all impressed by her incredible attention to detail,” says her Skills Instructor Crystal. Ashley joined Wisconsin Works to find a job that could support her family, but she was surprised by how much she learned about herself and her interests during the classes. Soon, she was actively looking for custodial work and enthusiastically showed the W-2 team her skills while volunteering at the office.

Her newfound direction prepared Ashley both to answer and to ask her interviewers key questions during her interview, which they loved! They told her that she was the first person to ask them questions in 15 years and offered her a job earning better wages than she has ever made before. “The joy and pride that we all saw in her face was priceless,” Crystal tells us.

Ashley is planning to pursue full-time work at the hospital and is excited to see what her future holds. Congratulations, Ashley!

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Unexpected Change Yields Big Rewards

“School shopping for the kids this year has been worry free,” says Debra with relief. ” I am able to actually pay bills and spend time doing things with my family that I couldn’t do before.” Everything changed when she put aside her Business Management degree and decided to give construction a chance. “I’m so glad I did because I’m able to provide more for my family and now I have unlimited opportunities that I can pursue in this career field!”

When she first heard about the TrANS program, Debra wasn’t sure if she could work in construction. Today she says “That kind of thinking was what was holding me back.” It took the encouragement of a good friend to convince Debra that it would be worth every second: “It will change your life for the better. Trust me,” the TrANS graduate told her, “but you got to be willing to put in the work.”

Debra learned how to discipline herself quickly, pushing herself to study and achieve her goals on-time. Soon after graduating, “I got my first job flagging with H. James & Sons making [over $25 an hour]… This job has meant everything to me and I will continue to strive as much as I can.”

Debra is happy to be planning her very first family trip for December. “My next goal is to buy a house within the next year, a place for us to call home!” She wants others to know that they can have success too, “You have to want it bad enough to change things in your life for the better!”

Congratulations, Debra!

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Faster Access for Parents in Need

If your family needs help, you want it as soon as possible. The new Wisconsin Works Eligibility Call Center (W2ECC) is designed to do just that. With dedicated staff available throughout the day, it will be easier to schedule an appointment now than ever. Our professionals will be able to determine your eligibility on-the-spot and start getting you the resources your family needs to thrive.

Please call 1-855-755-1331 of time to make an appointment, and set aside 90 minutes for your eligibility and resource session.

You will be greeted at a private video kiosk at your local office, at your scheduled appointment time. A scanner will be available for you to send us any required verification forms, and our staff will walk you through the entire process from start to finish.

Everything you need to send paperwork to us is right at your fingertips. Our comfortable kiosks ensure privacy during the video chat, as a caring representative guides you through the session.

Eligible or not, you will go home with a list of additional community resources to help overcome the obstacles you’re facing.  Call 855-755-1311 with any questions, or to set up your appointment today! The W2ECC will be open for calls starting September 7, 2017.

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One Referral, Two Jobs!

Ryan and Jessica arrived in Wisconsin this summer without so much as a car to huddle up in at night, but you’d never know it by looking at them. Strong and upbeat, they were always hopeful. They’d been uprooted from Colorado so quickly that they didn’t have time to find a home, let alone jobs – but they had each other. They scouted out resources as soon as they arrived, positive that asking for help was just another step toward finding a solution. A few unexpected turns later, the solution found them!

It all started with a referral. The couple came to The Micah Center looking for shelter and any resources that might help get them in touch with their new community. As soon as the center’s staff learned that the couple wanted help finding work, they contacted FSET and arranged for a time to meet.

It turned out that just coming in was the longest part of the process! Ryan’s experience as a welder made him the ideal fit for an opening at Fincantieri Marine. His Account Representative Craig mentioned it during their very first interview, and they got to work on an application right away. Within 2 weeks, Ryan started a full-time job making  $26.50 an hour. They’ve found a place to call home and are ready to make their life together better than ever. To make it even better, Jessica just got word that she’ll be starting a new job this month too.

Congratulations to you both!

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From Halfway to All the Way!

Jeremiah rode his skateboard nearly five miles to his first FSET appointment. Without money for a car, it was his best way to get around, and he was determined to do whatever he could to get back into the workforce. Today, we’re almost as excited as Jeremiah is to say that he’s starting a job that’s helping him get a new set of wheels and a kick start on life!

“He was living in a halfway house and told me he really just wanted to go to work,” says his Account Representative Craig. He talked with him about what kind of career he wanted and quickly pulled up a list of possible employers that could help him get there. Then they got to work on making a great first impression.

Jeremiah got a sharp new look for his wardrobe as well as his resume. The FSET instructors gave him one-on-one help writing a resume that showed off his skills, and Craig helped him apply for work. A clothing voucher later, and he was sporting fresh set of professional clothes as Craig took him to his interview with the specialty packaging and production experts at Services Plus. They offered him the job on the spot!

“This program is so awesome,” says Jeremiah. “All you have to do is put in some effort and you will be worked with and given help 100%.” Now he’s saving up for a place to call home and everything that goes with it. Congratulations, Jeremiah!

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TaCiana Turns Hope into Action

“Someday, I will be a manager,” says TaCiana. A few months ago, she couldn’t imagine saying those words. She was just hoping life might be better for her family, when she learned about FSC. Today, she isn’t hoping – she’s making it happen.

One of the first things her Wisconsin Works case manager did was ensure TaCiana had all of the resources she needed to succeed. A few questions later, she was co-enrolled in FSET. “Her W-2 case manager and I teamed up and provided supportive services,” explains FSET Employment Specialist Kari. “Also, a team effort to encourage her to keep going.” They talked about her interests and helped her join a skills training program in food service to get started.

Soon, she was coming back to Kari to talk about how much she was learning and the changes she wanted in her life. She enthusiastically discussed her ambitions and even changed her appearance to match her newfound optimism and professionalism. With a better sense of TaCiana’s goals, Kari arranged for TaCiana to start volunteering. At Manna for Life, “she started showing natural abilities as a leader and put into practice everything she was learning,” says Kari. By the end of her skills training course, TaCiana felt confident going into her on-site interview and secured a full-time job in the food industry!

When she talks about her future now, TaCiana says “I am worth it!” She knows that her future is not just bright for her family – it’s bright for her too! Congratulations, TaCiana!

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Karen Graduates with Honors

Once her children reached school-age, Karen was ready to go back to school herself. “My husband had a good job,” she says, “but we didn’t have much wiggle room in our finances.” Family time was important to her, so a customer service job working odd hours didn’t make sense. She also didn’t want to take years away from her family to earn a graduate degree. Then she learned how WIOA could fund her education, and she knew it was her chance to get the higher-paying job she was after.

Her Career Services Specialist “Jamie was great to work with and was always there encouraging me along the way,” says Karen. “I looked forward to our meetings, her job searching suggestions, and how easy she made it to enroll.”

In addition to WIOA’s funding, Jamie helped Karen enroll in and work through her online courses, which had the flexibility to work around her family life. The rigorous billing and coding courses “were hard to learn and I would get frustrated,” Karen says. She made it by concentrating on her goal to make a better life for her family.

After almost nine months, she graduated with honors! “I passed with a 96%. Super surprised with the score, but such a relief to see the hard work and sacrifices pay off,” she smiles. Since then, Karen passed her CPC exam, currently the gold-standard in medical coding, and found a job in the field that works with her family’s schedule.

“I highly recommend this program to anyone who feels they need a boost to get out of a challenging job or financial situation and have a higher quality of life,” she beams. Congratulations, Karen!

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Roseatta Inspires Success

“I have a fight inside me like no other,” says Roseatta. Homeless and struggling to overcome a traumatic upbringing in foster care, she can recall going hungry on many nights so she could nurture her two small children. Then the unexpected happened – she found the help she needed through Wisconsin Works.

“Roseatta came to my office about 9 months ago,” her Case Manager Jenni tells us. “She confided in me. Knowing what she has endured in her child and adult life, I was able to understand her desire to flee when things were tough.” She had been on aid programs in other areas, but her hesitance about her new team melted away when Jenni encouraged her to come to a class she teaches on Overcoming Barriers.

She started to share her story, get real feedback, and soon turned around to fight through every barrier she faced. Roseatta reached out to her team to learn new skills, refocus on parenting, and cope with adversity. “They always saw what I refused to see in myself,” Roseatta insists. “They pushed me when I was no longer pushing myself.”

Then one day, she came to Jenni with a smile and asked if she could teach a class. No notes in hand, she gave a heartfelt presentation. She urged others not to give up, to be accountable, and to take help when needed. Tears welled up in their eyes as they listened to her story. “Hearing this come out of Roseatta was awe-inspiring,” says Jenni. “Never have I heard so much passion. The last statement she made was, “Barriers, what barriers? YOU are the barrier!”

Today, Roseatta volunteers 15 hours a week, helps facilitate the barriers class, and is motivated to make a difference. She hopes to finish college and start a non-profit that helps other people like herself. She sees herself as a woman with potential, “which has helped me choose the relationships and people I choose to be around… Even the way I interact with my children has improved.”

“Success is not merely measured by employment, 100% completed logs, or a perfect score,” says Jenni. “Success is Roseatta’s story. She worked very hard to get to where she is and she is worth every minute.”

We are continually inspired by you and proud to see you grow, Roseatta! Congratulations!

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Practice Brings New Opportunities

Coming to the U.S. from a Somalia engulfed in civil wars for decades, Said wanted to give his family the opportunity for a fresh start and peaceful life in Wisconsin. Enrolling in Road to Livelihood this May gave Said the chance to build on his solid work ethic with a new job and a new outlook on the opportunities ahead!

A Road to Livelihood specialized hospitality training course gave Said a chance to practice his English, while learning the ins and outs of a new profession. He was determined to speak confidently about himself and his experiences during interviews. His practice soon paid off.

During a tour of the Hyatt, Said’s professional appearance and diligence caught the attention of their HR Director, Megan. She immediately asked about bringing him over for an interview. His RTL Account Representative Liban, helped throughout the interview process, while Megan eagerly introduced him to the other staff.

Today, Said has been working as a Public Attendant for almost one month and is thrilled about the opportunity! His family is getting settled and is starting to look at Wisconsin as their new home. Congratulations!

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Jenni Finds Her Hope

Jenni loved being a server, but when she fell sick, her doctor said she’d need to find a new career. Thankfully, she knew exactly where to turn. Her team at Wisconsin Works helped her find a new career path, along with the support she needed to pull through some of the hardest times in her life.

“I love customer service and talking with people because it makes me feel good,” says Jenni. Her strong desire to interact with people made her the perfect choice for a front-desk volunteer. Plus, since she was already familiar with W-2, she felt comfortable explaining to staff exactly what she’d need to succeed. “With the help of my ever favorite Case Manager Krissy, [I got] right back in and once again I was part of the team.”

“I also enrolled in FSET, which I was not in before,” she tells us. “With the extra help, gas, and clothes, I could not turn the opportunity down.” Jenni’s teams worked together to help her buckle down on applications and get her in touch with employers who could easily work around her health restrictions. With a phone call from her Account Representative Ian, she secured an interview with West Corporation the day after she applied!

With a stable job, Jenni plans to pursue her Bachelor’s in healthcare administration – but the best benefit is how her new job will help her family. “Great pay and hours for a full-time mom,” she beams. “I will miss my FSC family, but at the same time I am moving on to bigger and better things and will now be able to provide for my three children.”

“I thank God for programs like this,” says Jenni. “It makes what seems hopeless hopeful, and I feel so lucky to have gotten to be a part of something so wonderful.” We are so glad to see you succeed, Jenni! Congratulations!

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