Silas Jabari - Watch this ARWB customer tell his story of how WIA training helped him find a new career.
Andy, a long-time finance professional experienced a series of layoffs over several years.
He held a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration but realized he needed a specialization to successfully pursue his goals and fulfill his passion for horticulture. Andy recently completed the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Environmental Horticulture, maintained a 3.47 Grade Point Average and obtained employment as a Landscape Installation Foreman making $15 per hour.
After training, he started a family-owned landscaping business Andy transitioned into a career he is passionate about. He stated it best when he said, “For the first time, I’m not concerned about being downsized. I went from being laid off to actually employing others. I am a better and more hopeful husband, father, and provider. The encouragement and support from the Workforce Investment Act Program, the Environmental Horticulture program, and Gwinnett Tech is a blessing.”
Amanda enrolled in Georgia Perimeter College’s nursing program on 1/11/10 and successfully completed on 5/30/11. She began work 4 months later as a surgical Registered Nurse with a starting pay of $23-32/hour working nights and weekends. With four children at home and a husband who was also without a job, Amanda completed her training and had a fifth child a week before final exams. Her commitment to success is evident – completing the nursing program and finding employment while pregnant and delivering her fifth child in less than 2 years.
Randal is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy and has a solid 30-year work history. For 12 years he drove a concrete mixer truck and never envisioned himself without a job; but when his company downsized, he was laid off. Randal did not want to collect unemployment checks - he desperately wanted to go back to work, so he visited the Atlanta Regional Workforce Board Career Resource Center in Gwinnett to request Workforce Investment Act Program funds to train for a Class A, Commercial Driver’s License and seek employment as an over-the-road truck driver.
Randal completed the CDL training successfully and found employment He drives about 3,000 miles a week and says he makes more money than his previous job and found that driving tractor trailers is an easier job than driving a concrete mixer.
Hasan was making a little cash from odd jobs; just enough to keep his cell phone and buy food. At 26 years old he still felt dependent on friends and family for financial support. After graduating from high school he had plans to continue on to college, but the death of his mother in a car accident put those goals on hold. One of 7 children and with a 2-year old child of his own to raise, his immediate need was to learn a marketable skill and begin supporting himself.
Through the Atlanta Regional Workforce Board Career Resource Center in Gwinnett, Hasan was approved to attend Georgia Driving Academy where he learned the fundamentals of driving a tractor-trailer. Eight months later he says, “I’m earning $700 a week take-home, at a minimum. Now I am able to pay my son monthly day care and my other bills.” “The down side is that I don’t have enough time at home; but it is all working out.”
The recession caused Sharon to lose her job as a quality assurance technician at a Georgia bakery. But she took this challenge as an educational opportunity to reinvent herself thanks to the Workforce Investment Act. Sharon enrolled in a 2-year technical college to study bioscience. When she earns her degree, she said her current contract job as a lab technician with an international food producer will become a full-time employee position. Sharon admitted she was "shocked and blindsided" when she first lost her job but looked at it as "an opportunity to go back to school." Sharon exemplifies one of the many individuals who have been able to successfully re-enter the workforce thanks to assistance from WIA.
Youth Success Stories
Celene is a single mother of a 2-year-old daughter. She has family support from the 7 members in her household, but currently she is the only one working. Transportation is also an issue since she is 16 and hasn’t learned to drive yet. She attended Gwinnett Tech’s “Mentoring A Girl In Construction” (MAGIC) summer camp. She is a member of GAP’s “1,000 Minute Club” for exceptional academic achievement and has earned GAP’s Attendance Award for outstanding participation; and has earned a Bronze Level Work Ready Certificate.
Celene is planning her post-secondary education and is interested in Culinary Arts. She is working to earn a certificate in a nutrition program and wants to become a Serve-Safe certified food handler. Her long-term goal is creating a non-profit organization providing party-related services (decorations, entertainment, catering) for families of disabled children.
Fritz was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury after going into a coma at the age of 9. Through the Connecting Henry Workforce Investment Act Youth Program, Fritz has worked part-time with the Medical Cleaning Staff at Henry Medical Center. His supervisors praised his work and were very pleased with his overall attitude and determination.
Fritz has achieved his High School Diploma and has completed a Security/Body Guard Certificate Program. He was a Guest Speaker at the May 2011 “Break the Cycle” seminar hosted by Connecting Henry and has offered to become a mentor to future participants. He spoke in at a state-wide parent mentor conference for students with special needs and gave a stand up speech at University of Georgia in front of hundreds that applauded his determination and humor. He has recently purchased a used car with the help of his Mom.
His real passion lies in Photography and he is very determined to enroll in a College that offers a degree in Photography or a Certificate in Commercial Photography. His first priority right now is to become an independent adult able to support himself.
In just over a year, staff have witnessed Khoi’s remarkable transformation. With a speech disorder and previous academic problems, he has overcome significant challenges. Having repeated 9th and 10th grade, Khoi did not socialize with anyone other than staff, nor did he participate in extra-curricular activity. Khoi’s parents had almost given up hopes for him to complete high school because they did not know how to cope with his learning disability.
As of this year, Khoi is passing all of his classes and is completing all requirements to graduate from high school. When he fulfills the requirements to graduate, Khoi will be the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. He excels in his science and math classes while needing some assistance with language-based classes.
Josue first enrolled in Hearts to Nourish Hope’s WIA Summer Program in 2007. Since then he has participated as a student and counselor in the Summer Learning Program annually. He graduated from High School and has gone on to attend Georgia Tech seeking a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree. He received an internship with PepsiCo and spent his summer in Texas where he was very successful in making changes within the company to improve their time management.
He is also actively involved with the Latino community at Georgia Tech and has created a website for La Unidad Latina.
Josue comes from a single parent household; yet he has been successful in everything that he has set his mind on doing. He struggled financially and instead of giving up, he created ‘Computer Genius”, a computer based company that assists with technical repairs that has earned income for himself and his family. He has received many academic honors such as First Place in Science Technology, First Place Finalist to attend the Georgia Governor’s Honor Program at Valdosta State University and Outstanding Math Student of the year.
I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize Carlethia as a very talented member of your team. Her work ethic, enthusiasm and pleasant personality are a source of inspiration for many people going through a very difficult time. It is easy to see that she enjoys her work and cares about the individuals she counsels. Her "can do" attitude and in-depth knowledge of how to get things done made me feel at ease. In fact, she was able to expedite my request and gain approval for my training in a very short time frame. She is the quintessential professional!
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have Carlethia as my Career Advisor.
~Best Regards, Mr. Barry
I want to thank you so much for your decency and passion that you have shared with me as my career advisor - you have not only prepared me for CDL training, but for a higher learning as well that I call LIFE. My optimism level is at an all-time high, I am ready to learn and succeed and cannot wait to share with the rest of the world what you have taught me in terms of helping another with joy and determination. I can't thank you enough for your candor - your professionalism is so appreciated.
I want to share the positive experience that I have had at the Career Resource Center in Rockdale County. Ms. Guertin helped me find a project management program and knowing that a class was coming up soon, she helped me in my effort to get enrolled in the WIA program. The program itself has proved to be very empowering by giving me a renewed confidence in my own professional abilities and taught me a great deal that can bring benefit to any of my future job opportunities.
I am happy to have walked into the office last May. I can tell from the people filing into the office to speak with Ms. Guertin or Ms. Nieman, that I am probably not the only one who has had such a good experience. As a result, whenever I meet someone who may be out of work and looking for options to help them find a job, I mention that they visit their local WIA office to see if there are any paths that might be available to them. I'm sure that this help will be valuable as I move forward in my career. I look forward to being able to stop by the office to let them know that I have secured a job... which I hope will be in the near future.
~Sincerely, Mr. Benard