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Career Seeker Success Stories
Be encouraged by Northeast Kansas Career Seeker testimonies. These are only a few of our success stories.
     

Program Year 2012 Success Stories – 8/30/13

Amy
The Challenge
When Amy came to the Workforce Center (WFC), she was a single mother with four young children.  She had previously dropped out of high school when she was 16 years-old and had since gone on to obtain her GED.  She was working as a Corrections Officer, however, had no room for advancement without additional training and her wage wasn’t sufficient enough to provide for her family.  She came to the WFC with the goal of pursuing a career in the healthcare field, because she realized it was a growing field, offering competitive wages.
The WFC Solution
With the help of Kansas Health Profession Opportunity Project (KHPOP) and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, Amy enrolled in a Surgical Technician program through the local vocational training institute.  With the help of Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) grants, Amy received assistance with tuition, textbooks and supplies.  In addition, supportive assistance with childcare reimbursement was provided to help her offset the costs of daycare required during her class time.  Amy’s KHPOP Career Coach provided ongoing case management and counseling support throughout her enrollment, providing vital encouragement to help Amy complete the program.
The Outcome
In May 2013, Amy graduated with her Surgical Technology certificate.  At time of exit, she was working full-time as a Surgical Technologist.  She was able to increase her hourly wage by almost $5 per hour over her pre-program wage.
Customer Testimonial
Per Amy’s KHPOP Career Coach, “Amy has been extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the KHPOP & WIA programs.  Without the assistance she received through both programs, she would never have been able to complete the Surgical Technician program.  She is now able to provide for her children for many years to come due to her stable employment and sustainable wage brought on by her increased educational level.  This is a great burden lifted off of her shoulders.”

Austin
The Challenge
When Austin came to the Workforce Center (WFC) he was a recent Kansas State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.  However, he had no prior work history in the engineering field.  The only work history Austin had prior to Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) assistance was as a laborer on his family’s farm.  There was a significant gap between the knowledge Austin had from his classroom training and the experiential skills required for the engineering job he was pursuing with a local employer.  Austin’s biggest challenge was finding an employer willing to hire him without prior work experience in the field.
The WFC Solution
HWI brokered an On-the-Job (OJT) training opportunity between a local employer and Austin.  HWI Business Consultant staff worked closely with the employer to assess Austin’s classroom training experience, compare it to the required skills needed for the job and developed an itemized training plan which targeted the identified skills gaps.
The Outcome
Austin was placed into the OJT position (Mechanical Engineer) with the company in January 2012.  His training plan included skill building in the areas of planning and designing tools, engines, machines and other mechanically functioning equipment.  He successfully completed his OJT in September 2012 and was retained by the employer.  Per the employer, Austin has learned the business very rapidly and they have included him in trips to visit other plants who manufacture similar products so that he can develop new layouts for their products.
Customer Testimonial
Per his Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Career Consultant, “Austin is very grateful to have had this opportunity.  He reports loving his work and believes he would not have had this opportunity if it were not for the grant.”

Barbara
The Challenge
Barbara was a dislocated worker who lost her full-time employment as a contract driver and was laid off due to employer cutbacks.  She had been unemployed for over a year and was still struggling to find employment.  Her lack of education beyond a high school diploma was one of the barriers to her re-employment.
The WFC Solution
Barbara received labor exchange and re-employment services through the Workforce Center (WFC).  She was then connected to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program.  Her WIA Career Consultant helped Barbara assess her career interests and research different occupations.  The WIA program also provided financial assistance for Barbara to receive training in an online medical billing and coding program.  Barbara had worked in related medical occupations in the past, but lacked the skills and certifications relevant to the current industry demands.  WFC staff also worked with Barbara to create a resume, apply for jobs and build her interview skills.
The Outcome
Barbara successfully completed her training program and earned a national certification in medical billing and coding.  Within 6 months of coming to the WFC for help, Barbara had completed a training program in a demand occupation, obtained a national certification and obtained full-time employment in her field of study.
Customer Testimonial
“I am very happy to be back at work in an exciting new career.  This would not have been possible without the assistance I received from the Workforce Center.  So much had changed since I had worked in that field.  I was a little hesitant with the online program, but got straight to work on it.  After passing my national certification exam, I hit the pavement with my new resume.  I am now happily employed in a very busy clinical setting after being unemployed for over a year.  Thank you so much for all of your help.  I know without the financial assistance I received, I would not have been able to achieve this.  Plus, a little bonus, my kids have told me how proud they are of me!” - Barbara

Brad
The Challenge
Brad had been laid off from his position in financial collections, and was having a great deal of difficulty in finding employment which paid enough to support his family of four (with one more on the way).  Brad realized he would need to acquire and build additional skills in order to become re-employed, but lacked the necessary funds to pursue further education.
The WFC Solution
Brad connected with his local Workforce Center (WFC) and received Workforce Information Services from Labor Exchange staff.  He also worked with his Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Career Consultant to research a variety of career fields.  In addition, he took a career interest inventory assessment, which helped narrow down his career interests and identified occupations which would be the best match for his interests.   Brad and his WIA Career Consultant located a training program at a local community college for Railroad Conductor, which was a direct match to several job opportunities available through a local employer.  The WIA program was able to provide financial aid scholarship assistance to Brad for this program.
The Outcome
Brad successfully completed his training program in November 2012.  He received an employment offer from a local railroad company and started his new position in February 2013.
Customer Testimonial
“The training was good, but some of it was pretty hard.  Thanks so much for all of your help.  I’ll keep in touch!” – Brad

Eileen
The Challenge
When Eileen came to the Workforce Center (WFC), she was a Cosmetologist pursuing LPN training, and her husband had recently retired from his self-employed business due to serious health concerns and also the downturn in the economy.  Eileen’s goal was to earn her LPN & RN licenses to improve the financial health of her family.  She was currently enrolled in an LPN program when she came to the WFC, but was struggling financially with the cost of the program.
The WFC Solution
Kansas Health Profession Opportunity Project (KHPOP) funds provided scholarship assistance to Eileen which assisted with her LPN and RN training at a local private institution.  In addition, her KHPOP Career Coach provided case management services and supportive services in the form of mileage reimbursement to help offset the costs of travel to and from school.
The Outcome
Eileen completed her LPN program in May 2012 and went on to finish her RN program in December 2012.  At the time she exited from KHPOP, she was working full-time as an RN, with a monthly income which equated to three times what she was making prior to the KHPOP program.
Customer Testimonial
“I would like to thank you for being an integral part of my successful career change…..I hope the healthcare grant continues and is a blessing to others as it has been for me.” - Eileen

Erin
The Challenge
When Erin came to the Workforce Center (WFC), she was married with one child.  Her husband had recently been released from prison and was having difficulty transitioning into employment.  Erin wanted to improve her own career choices so that she could better provide for her family.  Prior to the Kansas Health Profession Opportunity Project (KHPOP) program, Erin had worked in entry-level healthcare positions, but had not worked at all in the four years immediately prior to coming to the WFC for help.
The WFC Solution
With the help of KHPOP and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, Erin enrolled in a nursing program through a local university.  With the help of Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) grants, Erin received assistance with tuition, textbooks and supplies.  In addition, supportive assistance with childcare reimbursement was provided, to help her offset the costs of daycare required during her class time.
The Outcome
Erin graduated with a BSN in May 2013.  She passed her stated boards and obtained her RN license immediately after graduation.  She obtained full-time employment as a registered nurse with a competitive hourly wage.  In addition, Erin will have the opportunity to advance her career in this position.  She will be able to receive training and certification in Oncology through her employer, which will allow her to further increase her earnings.
Customer Testimonial
Per her KHPOP Career Coach, “Erin is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the KHPOP and WIA programs.  Without the assistance she received through both programs, she may not have been able to complete the Nursing program.  She can now provide for her family for many years to come, which is a great burden off of her shoulders.”

George
The Challenge
When George came to the Workforce Center (WFC) for assistance in November 2012, he had been unemployed for over three years.  Prior to being unemployed, George had worked as a forklift operator for 25 years.  He had no formal training or schooling beyond the high school level.  His family of four was currently being provided for by his spouse’s income, but they were struggling financially and George was having a difficult time re-entering the job market.
The WFC Solution
George connected with the WFC and worked with his Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Career Consultant to research a variety of career fields.  He took a career skills interest assessment, which helped narrow down his career interests and identified occupations which would be the best match for his interests.   One of the highest match occupations for George was as a long haul driver.  Over-the-road CDL trucking is an occupation which is in very high demand in the local area.  HWI assisted George with getting connected to a local provider who offered short-term CDL training.  The WIA program was able to provide financial aid scholarship assistance to George for this program.
The Outcome
George successfully completed the training program in late December 2012 and obtained his CDL Class A License.  In January 2013, he began a full-time position with a well-known trucking company and is making a higher wage than the position he had prior to being laid off.  After over three years of unemployment, George was able to, in six weeks, upgrade his skills/certifications in an occupation which provided him with full-time employment at a good wage.
Customer Testimonial
Per George’s WIA Career Consultant, “George is excited about his new career and recommends the Workforce Center and Heartland Works to anyone seeking help!”

Jessica
The Challenge
Jessica came to the Workforce Center (WFC) seeking assistance with her job search.  She had recently moved to Kansas from another state and was having difficulty connecting with local employers.
The WFC Solution
Labor Exchange staff in the WFC worked with Jessica to develop her job seeking skills and helped her customize her resume to local job opportunities.  In addition, Jessica had the opportunity to work with WFC staff in mock interviews.  Labor exchange staff issued several job referrals for Jessica and connected her with a local job fair.
The Outcome
At the job fair, Jessica interviewed with recruiters for a local employer and received a job offer on the spot.  Jessica accepted the offer and went to work full-time as a Child and Youth Services assistant.
Customer Testimonial
After obtaining her new job, Jessica sent a thank you note to the WFC staff…. “Thank you for your help in improving my resume as well as guidance on interview skills.  You made me feel so much more at ease in my job seeking journey and helped remind me to be patient, and it paid off.  Good luck on helping more people, you are great at it!  Thanks again.” - Jessica

Liza
The Challenge
Liza was a single mother with three children, a high school diploma and a part-time job.  She was struggling to provide for her family and realized she had very little opportunity to advance her career without additional training.
The WFC Solution
When she came to the Workforce Center (WFC) for assistance, she was in a full-time Surgical Technology program at the local vocational-technical institute, but her lack of finances was impacting her ability to stay engaged in the program.  Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds provided scholarship assistance to Liza to help offset the costs of her training program.  In addition, her WIA Career Consultant provided case management services to Liza throughout her training program, encouraging her to complete successfully.
The Outcome
Liza completed her Surgical Technology program in May 2013. At the time she exited from WIA, she was working full-time as a Surgical Technologist with a monthly income which equated to almost three times what she was making when she came to the WIA program.
Customer Testimonial
Per her WIA Career Consultant, “Liza was very grateful for the help she received.  She truly believes without our help and guidance she would not have been able to complete her training successfully.  She told me she tells everyone about our wonderful services.”

Paul
The Challenge
When Paul came to the Workforce Center (WFC), he was a married father of 13 children who had been laid off from his construction job.  Paul was fortunate enough to qualify for unemployment insurance, but wanted to pursue a career in a field with more employment stability.
The WFC Solution
Paul received career center services through the labor exchange program and worked one-on-one with his Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Career Consultant on job search activities.  The WIA program helped him assess his career interests, develop a resume, submit job applications and build interviewing skills.  Paul was committed to changing career fields and had a strong interest in industrial maintenance positions, but lacked formal training in this field.  The WIA program helped him connect with the local vocational-technical school to enroll in their advanced systems technology program.
The Outcome
With the help of WIA funding, Paul graduated from his training program in May 2013.  He gained full-time employment in the field within two months of graduation.  Paul has decided to pursue his associate’s degree in advanced systems technology on his own, while working full-time.
Customer Testimonial
Per his WIA Career Consultant – “Paul said he is very thankful for the services HWI provided for him.  He is excited about his new career and being able to provide for his family.”

Shannon
The Challenge
Shannon came to the Workforce Center (WFC) through the REA program.  He had been laid off from his automotive technician job in May 2012 and was still searching for employment in August 2012.  Shannon had a high school diploma but lacked education at the post-secondary level.  He possessed a very limited work history and was finding it extremely difficult to locate employment which would help him provide for his family of five.
The WFC Solution
Shannon’s REA case manager referred him to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program for potential assistance with training.  The WIA Career Consultant helped Shannon assess his skills and interests and connected him with a short-term training course to help him obtain his CDL.  Due to Shannon’s financial situation and the cost of the training program, WIA was able to provide a scholarship to him which allowed him to attend and successfully complete the course.
The Outcome
Shannon completed the CDL course in October 2012.  At the time he exited from WIA, he was working full-time as an over-the-road truck driver and was projecting to double his hourly wage rate over the position he had been laid off from, only 6 months prior.
Customer Testimonial
Per his WIA Career Consultant, “Shannon highly recommends the Workforce Center and Heartland Works, Inc. to anyone!”

Wameshia
The Challenge
When Wameshia came to the Workforce Center (WFC), she was a single parent with four children.  Her only source of financial support was part-time employment as a CNA and food assistance through the Department for Children & Families.  Wameshia had a high school diploma, but no further education beyond that level.  Her work history was very limited.  She had no opportunities for career advancement without additional training.
The WFC Solution
Wameshia had enrolled in the local vocational training institute in their LPN program, but needed additional assistance to complete the program.  With the help of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds and Pell Grants, Wameshia was able to start the LPN program in August 2012.
The Outcome
Wameshia successfully completed the LPN program in May 2013.  At the time she exited from WIA, she was working full-time as a LPN, earning an hourly wage that was almost twice what she was making pre-program.
Customer Testimonial
Per Wameshia’s WIA Career Consultant – “Wameshia gave high praises about our program to her friends and family members.  She wants us to know how grateful she is for giving her this opportunity.  She said that without the funding and career guidance Heartland Works and other agencies gave her, she would not have completed the program successfully.”


Program Year 2011 Success Stories

Anna

The Challenge
Anna was laid off from Alorica in September, 2010. Having 9 years of work experience in the call center industry and living in a community which was experiencing a decrease in demand for these types of positions, Anna was concerned about how to make the transition from a call center environment into an occupation which was in higher demand for her area.
The Solution
While enrolled with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program operated by Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI), Anna completed over 12 online courses through our MindLeaders tutorial program to help build her skills in Microsoft Office programs, interviewing skills and conflict resolution techniques. Her HWI Career Consultant assisted with several rounds of resume and cover letter review/feedback to ensure her work experience was appropriately showcased and coached her on interview follow up techniques.
The Outcome
Less than two months after enrolling in the WIA program with HWI, Anna was offered a full-time position at Sir Hawley Printing Company, earning a comparable wage to that of her previous position at Alorica. When asked about her experience with the WIA program, Anna said, "When I got offered the job at Sir Hawley Printing so soon after the lay-off, I was shocked, but excited to accept. Thanks to Heartland Works for everything!"

Brent
The Challenge
Brent came to Heartland Works, Inc. in his first semester at Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) in the Electric Power & Distribution program, seeking financial aid for his classroom training costs. A former bank loan officer at a small-town bank, Brent had made the decision to go back to school to pursue training in an occupation with strong demand and earning potential.
The Solution
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program operated by Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) issued an Individual Training Account (ITA) voucher to provide a modest financial scholarship for partial coverage of his training costs at MATC. During his time at MATC, he was selected as a Student Ambassador and served as Student Body President. He was also nominated for American Technological Association Outstanding student. In addition, WIA provided a referral to the State Energy Sector Partnership Training (SESPT) program (also operated by HWI) which allowed Mr. McKeeman to participate in Westar Energy's boot camp program. Westar Energy is one of the major employers in the Electric Power industry in the state of Kansas. Brent's HWI Career Consultant provided ongoing support during training.
The Outcome
Brent graduated from the MATC program in December 2010, with a 4.0 GPA. He remained employed with DSNL Electric (a part-time position he obtained after starting school) but was offered an upgraded full-time position (40 hours per week) as an apprentice lineman, which resulted in a significant wage increase. Brent said, "Thanks to Heartland Works for their active efforts in recruiting and serving clients. I will be sure to sure to spread the word about their high quality services."

Laci
The Challenge
Laci came to the Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program in spring of 2010, seeking help with her final semester of the Building Trades program at Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC). Laci chose this program because of her desire to work in a field which offered good growth potential.
The Solution
Laci received an Individual Training Account (ITA) voucher through WIA to provide a modest financial scholarship for partial coverage of her training costs at MATC. This reimbursement was crucial to Laci's continued participation in the training program. In addition, Laci's HWI Career Consultant coached her on resume composition, notified her of position openings which matched her skills and education, and provided moral encouragement/support throughout her job search.
The Outcome
In September 2010, Laci was hired as Assistant Building Trades Instructor with MATC. She utilizes her entrepreneurial skills to pursue self-employment opportunities outside of her MATC work schedule. Laci earned a wonderful opportunity to teach others, and serves as a role model for other women who are interested in pursuing non-traditional employment. Laci says, "Thanks for everything, Heartland Works! I will be sure to send my current and future students your way for assistance!"

Linda
The Challenge
Linda was laid off from Pawnee Mental Health as a Psychiatric Nurse in January 2010. As an older worker with over 10 years in the healthcare industry, Linda was very distraught about the loss of her job. She came to the Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program in February 2010, seeking assistance in returning to the workforce.
The Solution
While enrolled in WIA, Linda completed over 30 online courses through our MindLeaders tutorial program to help build her skills in a variety of computer programs. In addition, her HWI WIA Career Consultant worked with Linda to upgrade her resume and enhance her interviewing skills, using the STAR (Situation Task Action Result) technique. HWI also provided much needed encouragement and moral support throughout her job search process, especially when Linda's unemployment insurance benefits ran out.
The Outcome
Linda was hired by MEDDAC at Ft. Riley in September 2010. Her starting salary as a Psychiatric Nurse pays significantly more than any of her previous positions. When asked about her WIA experience, Linda said, "I can't thank Heartland Works enough for the interview tips and 'pep talks'. I certainly couldn't have done it without their help! Heartland Works is the reason that I got this position and couldn't be more grateful."

Paul
The Challenge
Paul came to Heartland Works, Inc. (HWI, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program Operator) in his 2nd semester at Cloud County Community College (CCCC) in the Wind Energy program, seeking financial aid for his classroom training costs. Paul had prior work experience as a sous chef and with a new baby on the way, wanted to pursue training in an occupation which had a more consistent work schedule, was in greater demand and offered a much stronger earning potential for his family.
The Solution
The WIA program operated by HWI, issued an Individual Training Account (ITA) voucher to provide a modest financial scholarship for partial coverage of his training costs at CCCC. Paul's HWI Career Consultant provided valuable and ongoing encouragement and moral support while he was in training and once he completed the class, provided several rounds of resume/cover letter feedback, counseling on job search strategies, skill development with mock phone interviews and networking tips. Paul continually referred to HWI as his "lifeboat" to keep him afloat during the stress of job searching. He graduated from CCCC in May 2010.
The Outcome
NextEra Wind Energy (California) offered Paul a full-time Tech III position with a strong starting wage. Paul said, "I cannot thank you enough for all of the help/guidance/encouragement that you have given me throughout this ordeal. It has truly been a blessing to have such a grand cheering section. The kind of giving that you do on a daily basis is the best kind of gift that you could ever give someone. I would like to encourage you now to help others as you have helped me."

Stephanie
The Challenge
Stephanie came to Heartland Works, Inc. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) operator in her 2nd semester at Baker University in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Stephanie requested financial aid for her classroom training. A single mother working part-time as a waitress, Stephanie was struggling to make ends meet and stay in school. With a prior work history focused on retail and service-oriented positions, Stephanie was pursuing training in an occupation which would offer more hours and greater earnings.
The Solution
The WIA program operated by HWI, provides supportive service assistance to Stephanie, in the form of transportation reimbursement (Stephanie travels over 57 miles one-way to attend school). Stephanie wanted to continue working at least part-time while she was in school, but also wanted to start gaining work experience in the health care industry. Therefore, her HWI Career Consultant has worked with Stephanie on developing a quality resume, and helped her look for an entry-level position in the healthcare industry which would be compatible with her school requirements and schedule. Stephanie's HWI Career Consultant also monitors her progress in classroom training very closely to ensure she is successful in becoming an RN.
The Outcome
Stephanie obtained a student nurse/CNA position at Advocate Home Health Agency.  This job offers her more hours/higher salary than the waitressing position she had when she came to WIA. It will allow her to stay in school. With HWI/WIA assistance, Stephanie will graduate from Baker in December 2011. Stephanie said, "I sincerely thank Heartland Works for all of the help with my job search. There is no way I would have gotten a medical based job without their help."

     
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