Brandon McClendon was laid off from Graphic Package in Macon, Georgia. He decided to start visiting the Dodge County One-Stop where he learned valuable information about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and how to utilize available resources provided through the One-Stop system. The knowledgeable staff at the One-Stop helped him to job search for multiple jobs, and he also learned about unemployment benefits. During his job search, he applied to Valence in Eastman, Georgia, and he was hired. In Brandon’s words, “The One-Stop provides quality resources that make job searching easy. This office is really an asset to the community.”
Laura Armstrong was laid off from Husqvarna. During the information sessions before being laid off, Laura learned about assistance available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Laura was having a difficult time finding a job on her own, so she went to the Dodge WIOA One-Stop for help. The One-Stop staff assisted Laura with applying for jobs available in the area, and Laura was hired at Circle K in Alamo, Georgia.
Laura is very thankful for the assistance she received through the One-Stop. She stated, “The One-Stop helped me get back on my feet after the layoff. I am glad to be working again to make a living for my family and keeping my bills paid. The One-Stop staff has been a big help, and I can always depend on them.”
Willie Ford Jr. is an out of school youth from Wheeler County. After graduating from Wheeler County High School in 2017, he was enrolled in the WIOA Youth program. He is a very responsible young man, determined to do what it takes to meet the goals he has for his future. With the help of WIOA, Willie was able to enroll in post-secondary education and is currently attending Brewton Parker College. Willie has always aspired to be an educator. He hopes to one day become a school Principal or Superintendent. Willie is devoted to his education even outside of the classroom. He was voted Sophomore Homecoming Representative and Mr. Brewton Parker College in 2018. Willie also stays actively involved with his Alma mater and the Wheeler County School System by attending sporting events, speaking to present students, and volunteering however he can. During his time in the WIOA Youth Program, Willie also obtained an Occupational Skills Certification as a back-up plan for employment. We commend Willie for all his hard work and expect great things from him in the future!
Willie says, “Being in the Job Training Unlimited Program has taught me many things. It has taught me responsibility and how to remain organized.”
Brandon and Courtney Norris, pictured above, aspired to work in the nursing field and decided to pursue their dream when they were both accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Middle Georgia State University. Brandon, a United States Marine Corp Veteran, worked part-time as a PRN alongside his wife, Courtney, while attending school to support their household of five. Both needed financial support in order to complete their program. With the help of WIOA, Brandon and Courtney were able to cover the cost of program supplies, license exam fees, and assistance with the cost of transportation. WIOA was also able to cover a portion of their tuition.
Brandon says, “I was able to obtain my dream of becoming a RN. WIOA allowed me to pay for critical items needed to make it through school, gas going to and from school, and daycare cost. WIOA decreased my family’s overall stress when it came to the area of financial help with the previous mentioned items.”
Courtney expressed, “Without this program I would not have been able to finish my RN degree. As a mother of three, and two in daycare, returning to school has been difficult. This program made it possible by paying for my classes, gas, and required fees.”
Both Brandon and Courtney showed outstanding determination during their school program. They were both offered RN jobs at their local hospital and will begin in February 2020. Their WIOA Case Manager, Jessica Pinard said “It was an honor and privilege to work with these two individuals, and I am so proud of their accomplishments.”
Alton Rawlings was laid off from Husqvarna. He attended the information sessions at Husqvarna with WIOA and other Partner Agencies. He began coming into the Johnson County One Stop to use the computer lab to job search. The One Stop staff were always helpful and did not mind assisting him being that he had never applied for jobs online. After submitting several job applications, he was hired by Best Buy. He was emailed the hiring packet, and he visited the One Stop again for the One Stop staff to assist him with the hiring paperwork. Alton says, “I do not know what I would have done without the assistance of Job Training Unlimited. Job searching and job applications are difficult for someone without computer knowledge. I appreciate the help that I received from Job Training Unlimited and I am glad to be working again.”
Brandi Eversole, an adult participant in the Individual Training Account (ITA) program, needed assistance finishing nursing school. She was a stay at home mom, taking care of four kids. With assistance from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Brandi was able to finish nursing school without the worry of paying all the extras that come along with school and clinicals. Brandi has now passed her NCLEX and is working at the Emanuel Medical Center.
Brandi stated, “I earned my diploma in Practical Nursing, with the help of WIOA. If it weren’t for WIOA, I could not have paid for my son’s childcare or finished the nursing program. My husband works 52 hours per week, and I have been a stay at home mom caring for four children and a full-time student. So, having WIOA assistance to help buy clinical scrubs, shoes, and help pay various fees was greatly appreciated and played a huge part in my success.”
Ryan and Michelle Burton had a dream of attending college to earn a nursing degree, but they were both unemployed and needed assistance. With two children at home and no income, they felt attaining their dream would be impossible. With the help of WIOA, both Ryan and Michelle have completed their nursing degrees.
Michelle stated, “I have recently graduated from Coastal College of Georgia with my RN. Getting to this point was a challenge, but with WIOA I have finally completed my dream. Getting through nursing school is tough, even more so when a couple goes through the program together. We were able to walk across the field together to complete our biggest accomplishment yet!
Putting one person through nursing school is tough financially, but luckily, we were both able to qualify for the ITA Program. With the help of WIOA we both received help with gas, tuition, and the fees for taking the NCLEX and boards. This program has been a blessing for our family and will help us be able to provide a better future for our children.”
Abigail Bowen, pictured above, is a young single mother who recently completed the ITA Program. With the help of WIOA, Abigail attended the Medical Assisting Program at Ogeechee Technical College. She graduated in December of 2018 and is now employed with Children’s Healthcare of Statesboro. Abigail stated that she loves working in a pediatric setting and can’t get enough of her job.
Abigail also said, “I made a 64-mile round trip drive every day for school and participated in an externship (temporary training program). Without the help of the ITA Program, I never would have been able to push externship hours to 40 hours a week and work a part-time job. Without this program, I do not believe my school experience would have went as smoothly. It was truly a blessing. Thank you!”
Congratulations, Abigail! We are so proud of you and your accomplishments!
After graduating from high school Josh McCormack, of Claxton, was seeking financial aid so that he could attend college. He came to Job Training Unlimited searching for assistance and was enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Out-of-School Youth Program. While taking a full load of classes at school, Josh worked a steady part-time job and maintained a 3.38 GPA. He will be graduating from the Georgia Southern University Engineering Program in December of 2019. Josh participated in an internship last summer, and because of his hard work and dedication, was offered a job with two different companies after he graduates. He is pictured above at the 2019 Annual Workforce Development Board Training Conference where he was a guest speaker. Josh shared his story of how the services he received through WIOA have enabled him to pursue his goals to attend college, and one day become an engineer.
“I never thought I would be able to go to college because I didn’t think I could afford it. I didn’t know much about grants. I only got one scholarship, and it was not going to be enough to cover everything that I needed to pay. Without the addition of WIOA and Job Training Unlimited’s help, I would have never made it this far. College has been the biggest challenge of my entire life, but I was motivated more than anyone. When no one else believed I could be an Engineer, I believed in myself, and so did the staff at Job Training Unlimited. They not only helped me financially but were also a great support system by constantly checking on me to make sure I had everything I needed throughout my journey.”
- Josh McCormack
Cassandra Estrada, an out of school youth, was a young single mother who needed assistance to attend college. She was employed part-time, and she was living with her dad. With assistance from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program, Cassandra was able to enroll in college. Around the holidays, Cassandra lost her mother, and within a month, she lost her grandmother. Because of missing so many days at work, she also lost her job. This was a difficult time in Cassandra’s life, but she continued to attend school and participated in the WIOA Youth Work Experience Program. Cassandra recently obtained employment at Sleep-Inn in Baxley and will be graduating from Coastal Pines Technical College in the Spring of 2020.
Cassandra says, “I was pleased with how they helped me in any way, and I don’t have to worry about college expenses.”
Ann Bellamy was one of the hundreds of people affected by the recent Husqvarna closure in Telfair County. Ann was employed with Husqvarna for over 20 years. After losing her job, she began visiting her local Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) One-Stop for job search assistance. Ann was able to find employment with Valmiera Glass, but just a few weeks later, Ann was one of the employees laid off during a department shut down. She returned to the one-stop for help yet again. With the help of Job Training Unlimited through the WIOA One-Stop System, she is now employed with Best Buy in Dublin.
Ann stated, “I was lost when it came to applying for jobs and knowing how to start or where to start. It was so helpful coming to the one-stop because Sarah didn’t mind helping me to better understand what the employers were looking for on my applications. Now I have a job, and I am very happy, thanks to Sarah, WIOA, and Job Training Unlimited.”
Sarah Dukes, of Odum, enrolled in the Individual Training Accounts Program under WIOA during her final semester at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick because she needed additional assistance to complete her Associate of Science in Nursing Degree.
Sarah stated, “During my final semester of Nursing School, I learned of the WIOA Program. This program was an answer to my prayers! WIOA has helped me tremendously. Not only did the program help me with tuition, testing, and books; it also assisted me with money for transportation and childcare. As a commuter and single mother, this was a blessing! Due to the rigorous curriculum of school and clinicals, I was unable to work during my final semester, while attending in Brunswick four days a week. As you can imagine, having the help from WIOA was very much appreciated. The financial burden of college is immense, but I did not know how costly until I personally enrolled. Without this assistance, I am unsure if completing school would have been possible for me.
My case manager has gone above and beyond to help me whenever possible. I was so excited to find out that they even reimbursed graduation fees! I am so pleased to say I have already been offered a position at Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick that begins in July! I would like to thank WIOA for all of their help along the way.”
Tiffinie Alcott, of Reidsville, recently received her Phlebotomy Technician Certification from Allied Medical Training Center in Vidalia, Georgia. Tiffinie enrolled in the WIOA Youth Program because she needed assistance obtaining her GED. Seven months after enrolling, she received her GED from Southeastern Technical College and enrolled in a Phlebotomy Technician Program.
Tiffinie stated, “I’ve been with the Youth Program for 2 years now. So far, it has taught me a lot of responsibilities. The money I earned while in the program, I spent on necessities for my daughter and myself. WIOA has helped me with college and obtaining my certification in Phlebotomy.”
Tiffinie is now employed at East Georgia Regional Hospital in Statesboro as a Phlebotomy Technician.
Dewayne Lovett graduated from Middle Georgia State University recently with his Associate Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology. He enrolled in the WIOA Individual Training Accounts Program in February of 2018 because he needed financial assistance completing his Associates degree. DeWayne is currently completing all of his certification exams and will begin job searching soon. He is confident, because of the high demand career he has chosen, that finding a job will not be difficult.
“I am so grateful for the WIOA Individual Training Account (ITA) Program. It came in handy while I was at the Eastman Campus of Middle Georgia State University. The only regret I have is that I wish I had applied for the Program sooner. Many times, it was just what I needed for the weekend, for gas to go and make more money. This program helped me to see the value of a dollar and I am still learning how to make it last. Our Case Manager was excellent. She was always very helpful and loved her job. I looked forward to payday because, of course, we would receive a check, but also because my case manager always looked out for those of us who were in the program. Thank you, Ms. Hardeman, for all your hard work! I would highly recommend this program to others, and I already do. I wish it could be approved for everyone because I know it would be a blessing to others as it was for me.”
- Dewayne Lovett
JEFF DAVIS COUNTY
Youth Participant, Marlena Ates 2018 EAGLE Recipient for Coastal Pines Technical College
Marlena Ates, (pictured left with Youth Case Manager, Sharon Mims) is a 26-year-old mother of 5 who is working hard to support herself and her children. Marlena enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program in 2016 to receive assistance with obtaining her General Education Diploma (GED). She was also placed in WIOA work experience at Coastal Pines Technical College while attending GED classes. Through the Work Experience Program, Marlena learned interview presentation skills, professionalism, customer service skills, and Microsoft Office programs.
Marlena states, “The WIOA program has helped me in numerous ways. Thanks to the WIOA Program for all of these opportunities.” Marlena graduated from the Adult Education Program in March 2018 and is currently attending Coastal Pines Technical College to obtain a degree as a Health Care Assistant. Her goal is to further her education in Health Care and one day become a Registered Nurse.
Marlena was selected as the CPTC 2018 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) winner. The Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Program is a statewide award program that recognizes students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in adult education classes. Teachers nominate students from their local program based on character, attitude, attendance, leadership and community involvement and activities. Each local program selects one student from the nominees to receive the EAGLE award for their program. The local award recipient is recognized at the state EAGLE Leadership Institute. This event provides professional development sessions focused on leadership and life management skills.
Congratulations on your accomplishments Marlena!