Crystal’s Got Her Swagger Back!
What a difference a month can make! Crystal came to the FSET program recently feeling discouraged about her job prospects and in need of a confidence booster.
Well, she certainly got that from the FSC team and, soon, her bubbly personality burst through as she mastered new skills, rediscovered her swagger, and started a new job last week. After some discussion, Crystal said her passion has always been helping people and she shared her customer service experience. She then enrolled in the food service training course offered in October where she toured employers, worked on her interviewing skills, and also fixed her transportation situation. This quickly turned into an opportunity as she got a job with the local Wendy’s, the partner in this training.
Crystal thanked all the FSET staff for their encouragement and helping her stay motivated. Her focus right now is using her new job to get a new place to live, pay off some debts, and save up for more classes.
Congratulations Crystal – and thanks for coming to FSET!
2017 Annual Report
The results are in! Last year, almost 3,000 people found jobs through FSET alone. Other programs fulfilled their missions by helping customers enroll in school or training, find safe and affordable housing, and find the path they always dreamed about but never knew was possible. Download a PDF of our Annual Report for a full breakdown of the data and other fun talking points!
From Compassion to Career
LaToya is a soft-spoken, caring mother who always puts her family first. When she enrolled in Wisconsin Works, she was just about ready to give up on her job search – this all changed instantly when her team found the perfect opportunity for her to stretch her wings.
“I would go to interview after interview and still no call back for employment,” LaToya tells us. She was losing hope, when Kristina, her case manager, found an open work experience at Happy Face Apparel, a company that makes clothing and gear for special needs children. LaToya finally found an outlet for her talents and compassion. Each day, she felt more certain of herself as she discussed new possibilities with her W-2 team and found encouragement in her search.
That’s when Wendy stepped in. As an FSET Account Representative, she works directly with employers to help people find jobs. She was thrilled when she learned that LaToya had the skills that VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel companies, needed. Wendy then met one-on-one with LaToya to rebuild her resume and contacted VF Corporation for an interview. “They loved her!!!” Kristina says. “She has been happily working at VF Corp and Wendy continues to follow up with the employer, and I follow up with LaToya via email.”
“With the support of Kristina, Wendy, Meghan and Lindsey, now I am able to be self-sufficient and be a part of the workforce as an independent adult,” says LaToya. She enjoys working at JanSport with VF Corporation and sees it as a chance to give her daughter the life she deserves. LaToya hopes to build her credentials so she can eventually earn a job working for the county, where she can help others in need.
Jody Turns It All Around
Jody’s story is one that any job-seeker can relate to. With a newborn and a teenager to care for, she was scrambling to find work. After weeks of searching, the weight of rejection piled up and she slipped into a deep depression. An abusive relationship made it even harder to climb out, until she saw a tiny glimmer of hope: she learned that her FoodShare benefits could help her find a job. That’s when her life started to turn around. The staff at FSC quickly helped her find more than a job – she also discovered the confidence to face anything that holds her back!
“I feel like I’m worthy now,” Jody tells us. Her FSET and Wisconsin Works teams proved right away that they truly wanted to make sure she was set up for long-term success. “I went through big time anxiety to becoming calm and having to go through therapy per my case worker which has changed my life for the better.” They helped her tackle the emotional and financial toll of unemployment, encouraged her throughout her job search, and empowered her with the resources to improve her life.
“It’s an amazing program which I have recommended to more than a few people since I have been here,” Jody insists. This fall, she’s starting a job at Guardian Insurance as a Dental Claims Approver. She loves the field and hopes to “grow within the organization and possibly move to the south,” where her newfound job will help her launch a great career. Best of all, though, she will not let anyone or anything hold her down. “Now I won’t accept any of that. All has changed for the better as I gave in and Let God!”
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.
Changes Worth Making
Moving from rural Wisconsin to the city of Oshkosh was a big change for Jamie, but she knew that’s where her family could find a future. Today, she’s happy she started this change by reaching out to FSC. She now has a good job and high hopes for the kind of future she’ll be able to provide.
The first thing Jamie wanted to do was learn about her options. She started by enrolling in Wisconsin Works and FSET. Right away, they opened the door by discussing her interests and finding a volunteer experience at the Waushara County Historical Society where she could learn and grow. Jamie’s team encouraged her to apply for work and showed her how this volunteer work could make her stand out to employers. The extra support “gave me the push and tools I needed,” says Jamie.
It didn’t take long before she was hired at the Holiday Inn! At long last, “I am able to make all my payments I need to,” Jamie tells us. She’s thrilled to be able to provide for her family, but she’s even more excited about the new path she’s taking. Jamie plans to work up to full-time, earn her GED, and show her family that their change was worth it!
Patricia Rediscovers Her Path
Patricia joined Wisconsin Works and FSET hoping for a great job, but she was surprised to find it waiting in the industry she left long ago. She rediscovered her passion for hospitality during a training course with these programs, and now she hopes to make it her long-term career!
“I felt the walk-through tour and on-site interview were the most valuable part of the class,” Patricia tells us. She worked in housekeeping before, so the opportunity to show employers her expertise gave her a welcome boost. Meanwhile, the hands-on practice prepared Patricia to restart her career. She started to share insider knowledge with her classmates, and her teamwork and positive attitude stood out to hiring managers.
Her team didn’t stop with the job search and training – they also made sure she could get around. Thanks to a Goodwill voucher, she was able to purchase a reliable bike to come to training on. She was offered a job at Quality Inn before the class finished, and now she’s using her bike to ride to work while the weather is still warm!
When we asked how she felt about her future, she beamed “I love my new job!” She is excited to put her skills to practice and can’t wait to show them everything she can do. Congratulations!
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!
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!”