Read how Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
This Act was signed into law on August 7, 1998, capping
a seven-year effort to consolidate and streamline
the nation's employment and training programs. WIA
replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA),
enacted October 13, 1982. Under WIA, the federal government,
states, and local communities join efforts to develop
a system providing workers with job search assistance,
training, and advice. In addition, all entities work
together to provide employers with skilled workers.
See the Resources section of the course for more information.
works for people in Illinois.
WIA Works Success Stories and Letters are an amazing collection of testimony to the value WIA Works for Illinois has fostered and the positive impact on our communities.
Success Stories and Letters are organized around congressional districts and reveal the importance and broad success that the program provides to local workforce development throughout the state.
Read a few and you’ll believe! And become part of the conversation; add your story now.
To submit WIA Training or Employment Success Stories, follow these three easy steps:
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your WIA training and employment success story.
- Enter a title for your WIA employment or training success story (limit 100 letters/spaces);
- Describe the situation and/or background;
- Describe the WIA training activities that led to your success;
- Tell us the results of your WIA training or employment experience;
- Upload a picture of yourself (it is optional). Give the picture a title;
- Read the disclaimer statement and agree to the terms. Then click UPLOAD IMAGE button;
- SUBMIT your WIA training or employment success story.
View WIA Works for Illinois success stories and letters below.
Click here to view the districts.
WIA Has Been My Lifesaver
WIA has truly been a lifesaver for me. This program has provided the resources for me to complete ... Read the Story >>
WIA has truly been a lifesaver for me. This program has provided the resources for me to complete my Associates degree in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program and begin a new chapter in my life, fulfilling my dreams and goals of helping others. After getting a divorce and learning the hardships of trying to support yourself on low paying jobs, this program has offered me the opportunity to have a life-long career and not just a job. If it was not for the WIA program, I would have graduated from school with a mountain of debt. I have lived with my parents during the last 3 years to cut down on expenses and attain this goal. Without WIA, I do not know when it would be economically feasible to live on my own and pay off the large debt I would have occurred. I am very grateful this program exists for those citizens who make a serious commitment to bettering their lives and providing a service that is needed in this state.
Help getting a job
My Debt of Gratitude to McHenry County Workforce Network
My first encounter with an earlier form of the Workforce Network was in 1994. I’d just lost my job ... Read the Story >>
My first encounter with an earlier form of the Workforce Network was in 1994. I’d just lost my job as a mental health counselor and social worker to older adults. I was burned out – I could no longer handle the emotional stresses and strains of the profession. Feeling a bit lost and disoriented as to what to do next, I began attending Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) meetings. At JTPA, I submitted to testing that focused on what skills and interests I already possess that might be valuable in another career. The intersection of the skills test and the interests test showed that technical writing (creating instructions, manuals, quick reference guides, and other documentation regarding software and hardware) would be an excellent, new vocational avenue. To enter the field of technical writing, I needed education and training. I found it at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL which offered a Certificate program in Technical Communication. JTPA paid my tuition and transportation costs for one-year of coursework. Three months after securing my Certificate, I landed my first technical writing job at Safety-Kleen Corp. in Elgin, IL. I worked there for 11 years until I was downsized. Since that time I’ve worked at three other companies as a technical writer. Because my work was allied with or part of Information Technology (IT) departments, I’ve been laid off or outsourced from those companies. It’s an occupational hazard in IT-related work.
Through all the downsizings, McHenry County Workforce Network (MCWF) has been a steady rock; an unwavering, valuable wellspring of job-searching knowledge. Each time I’ve been out of work, the MCWF staff dusts me off, arms me with needed and updated job-searching skills, connects me with a network of other job seekers, and helps me to successfully re-enter the job force. The staff and the resources that they offer are superb and first-rate. Looking for work can at times be a frustrating, draining, and an overall negative experience. Yet, to counter that, the MCWF staff is upbeat, positive, and supportive. Their attitude sustains me and helps reduce the typical job funk. Within the last few months, I’ve been downsized again, but I am comforted in this thought: the MCWF staff and I are working together to help me reach my goal of employment. It’s reassuring to know I have a good partner! Lastly, I am very grateful for the crucial assistance I’ve received over the years and for the help yet to come from MCWF.
My Nursing Future Made Possible
My name is Merilyn Banner. I am a 38 year old mother of three young boys. I have worked my entire ... Read the Story >>
My name is Merilyn Banner. I am a 38 year old mother of three young boys. I have worked my entire life and have been at my current place of employment for the past 17 years. I realized that I had gone as far as I could possibly go within my company without having a degree. I was stuck, barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. So it was at this point that I decided to look inside myself and determine what I was going to do with my life. Nursing is where my heart is. I have always wanted to pursue a Nursing career, but thought that I would not be able to afford classes, books, uniforms, and equipment. It was after I began taking several prerequisite classes that I learned about Workforce Investment Solutions through a family friend. I made the call and I am so glad that I did. If it was not for the funding that this program offers I would not have been able to have successfully complete the Practical Nursing program at Richland Community College and be one week away from graduation. This program made it all possible by covering all the expenses associated with the nursing program and I was able to just concentrate on studying. I will be able to provide a better life for me and my children. Thanks, Workforce Investment Solutions!
Youth Program Alumni Earns Bachelors Degree!
The challenge when I showed up for my first day with Workforce Network was that I didn't really ... Read the Story >>
The challenge when I showed up for my first day with Workforce Network was that I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I thought I was interviewing for a job, beyond that I had no idea. What I found was much more than a job; it was a professional development program to help youth with difficulties obtain work experience and, as I like to put it, learn how to have a job. It was an environment in which it was safe to ask questions and not have to learn the world of work only by trial and error. I was involved in the youth program for a total of eleven months, during which time I had opportunities I did not think were available for someone like me. Workforce Network helped me get my first job, something which I had begun to think was impossible. That was over five years ago now. In May 2012, I graduated with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Business with a major in Management Information Systems. Nine days after graduation I accepted a job offer as a programmer analyst and am in the process of moving to a new apartment. The McHenry County Workforce Network was a key to my success; helping transform me from the discouraged high school graduate I was to the professional I am now. It acted as a catalyst for professional development - even before I knew what that meant.
How things can work out for the best!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Workforce Network for all the ... Read the Story >>
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Workforce Network for all the support they gave me while looking for employment. I found a position as a Para-Professional Bilingual Teacher in the field of Special Education at district 205 in Rockford, Illinois; a field that I would have never even given a thought to if it had not been for Workforce Network's interesting and professional group support. Even though my professional field is in the area of Business Planning, it was interesting how it all worked out for the best and moved in the right direction for me. How incredible it is that by sharing your own experiences, one can learn so much from others and find a new meaning in life. As for myself, I can surely tell you that without Workforce Network and their wonderful staff, I would have never been able to accomplish all that I did while attending the professional and interesting trainings and workshops.
IT Training pays off!
Terrence Magnuson was unemployed from his Field Service Tech position a few months when he came to ... Read the Story >>
Terrence Magnuson was unemployed from his Field Service Tech position a few months when he came to Workforce Network for help with his job search. As a single parent of three children, he was anxious to get back to work. With over 18 years experience as a computer service technician/engineer, he found that he was lacking the IT certifications to qualify for available jobs. He received training to sit for and earn his CCNA-Cisco Certified Network Associate—plus additional training in CCNA Voice and Security. After earning his CCNA certification in February 2012, he actively participated in the seminars and job club. On August 18, 2012, he landed a job as a Field Engineer with X-IO Tech, a data network storage company headquartered in Colorado Springs, earning 40% more than in his layoff position. Terri cited the Cisco training and certification made possible through the WIA program funding as being critical to his new employment. He found the Workforce Network seminars and job club to be personally beneficial during his job search.
Training: Computer Systems Networking And Telecommunications
I Received A Degree In Accounting!!!
I am from Anna, Illinois and I applied to the WIA Program in December of 2010 after being laid off ... Read the Story >>
I am from Anna, Illinois and I applied to the WIA Program in December of 2010 after being laid off by the Census Bureau after several months. I had previous experience working in retail with Wal-Mart, but I really wanted to return to school to further my education. I desperately wanted to better myself so that I could support both myself and my child. Being the single mother of a 14-year-old daughter, Amber, and only having unemployment and food stamps to live on, life was hard. I chose to pursue the Associate of Applied Science Degree program in Accounting at Shawnee Community College. I loved my classes and did very well. My daughter, Amber, was ill from time to time during the two years I was in school, and required surgery in addition to being treated for a variety of other illnesses. On top of all of this, my ex-husband passed away in May of 2011. As you can imagine, all of this took its toll on me, and I experienced some rough times for several months. Car troubles also threatened my ability to stay in school but I managed to hang in there, and with hard work and lots of determination, I made it to the internship stage of my training. H&R Block allowed me to complete my internship with their company, where I trained from February to March of 2012. During this time my knowledge and skill set grew tremendously and I was able to excel. At the end of my training, I was offered a permanent position with the company, where I currently remain.
Training: Accounting Technology/Technician And Bookkeeping
2012 Business Partnership Award Winner
Over the past two and a half years, St. John’s Hospital has been very instrumental in the academic, ... Read the Story >>
St. John's Hospital
Over the past two and a half years, St. John’s Hospital has been very instrumental in the academic, hands-on, and employment success of many of our First Institute Medical Office youth participants. They have provided job shadowing for over 50 Medical Office Assistant students in the following departments: Registrar, Unit Clerks, Birth Center, ED, Neuro Department, Cardiac Rehabilitation, ER, Regional Wound Care Center, Oncology, and the Cath Lab. Beginning in March of 2011, St. John’s responded to outreach efforts to place participants into paid work experience opportunities through our Work Experience Project. Immediately, four participants began working in the Human Resources Department along side of Leonardo Ellis. He placed a great amount of effort in encouraging other departments to do the same. As a result, two individuals were hired upon completion of their work experience opportunities. In addition, 5 other WIA youths are currently employed there full-time as unit clerks, with one in the registrar, one as secretary of the pharmacy, and one as secretary of the medical lab. They are also very encouraging and supportive of career growth through additional educational opportunities. St. John’s has been supportive of many youth programs in the community as well. They continue to provide job shadowing and internship opportunities, and have committed to doing so in the future. All of the students who have been given the chance to experience these programs, want to work at St. John’s Hospital. Thank you!
WIA services for a business
LLCC Automotive Bridge Program 2012 Individual Achievement Award Winner
Having work experience primarily consisting of food service in the Springfield area, Cole first ... Read the Story >>
Having work experience primarily consisting of food service in the Springfield area, Cole first came to the Illinois workNet® Center in May of 2010. At 24-years-old, and having had watched his father work on cars all his life, Cole was interested in pursuing Automotive Technician certification. In August of 2010, through the HireEducation Program, he was successful in completing the bridge program at Lincoln Land Community College. Wanting to continue his education, Cole pursued certification in the Automotive Technician Program. Once starting the certification program, however, Cole decided he wanted to go even further and get his AA degree for Automotive Technician. Cole completed the AA degree program in May of 2012. A year into his training, he began working at Green Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda in Springfield; and over the course of the past two years, he has always responded to any telephone calls, e-mails, or letters that his Case Managers send to him. Cole always came in with his grades and never failed to do what was expected of him in return for the WIA funding. Cole has been a very successful story for our LWIA, and his story is what we look forward to each and every time we help a customer in the WIA program.
Training: Automotive Engineering Technology/Technician
Cass County - 2012 Individual Achievement Award Winner
Holly lost her job in March of 2009, soon after her son was born. While receiving unemployment ... Read the Story >>
Holly lost her job in March of 2009, soon after her son was born. While receiving unemployment benefits, she decided going back to school was the best option. At the time, Holly’s husband was working out of town, and was only able to be home on the weekends. Finding jobs in the Cass County area that offered a Monday through Friday, 8-5 schedule were hard to come by, and even more challenging when managing on her own with a toddler. “School was my best option and I knew this was the best window of opportunity for me to do so.” Holly started CNA training at Lincoln Land Community College in the Summer of 2009, and in Spring of 2010 learned of the LPN program at CASPN. “I applied and took my entrance exam (at CASPN), and passed with flying colors on the first try. I was so elated with myself and had a great support system backing my every move.” It was actually a classmate that notified Holly of the WIA program. “I took my placement exam at CASPN and headed straight over to the workNet® office in Springfield.” Upon completing the Request for Training application for WIA, she was administered the TABE Assessment and was granted one of the last spots in the program. “I am so glad that I was able to accomplish a license in health care, as this was and is my passion. Without WIA, I would not have been able to return to school. I would not have been able to afford it even with unemployment, and especially living an hour away from the school, without reimbursement for gas, eye care and tuition, books and uniforms for clinicals. I continue to hear from the WIA team and follow workNet® on Facebook; I appreciate that the job openings are up-to-date and easy to read. I have also made, what I anticipate to be, lifelong friendships with classmates that, without WIA, I might have never met. We keep in touch and are planning to do a reunion at some point for our graduating class—and without WIA this would have never been possible.” Holly graduated in June of 2011. She sat for her boards in early August and received her LPN license. She is currently employed at Passages Hospice as an LPN in Pittsfield, Illinois.
Training: Licensed Practical /Vocational Nurse Training (Lpn, Lvn, Cert, Dipl, Aas)
Youth Program 2012 Individual Achievement Award Winner
In an effort to obtain her GED, Lessie was referred to Lawrence Education Center in Springfield, ... Read the Story >>
In an effort to obtain her GED, Lessie was referred to Lawrence Education Center in Springfield, and subsequently enrolled in the Prepare Youth to Work (PYTW) Program. While in the program, Lessie received support services, teacher/student counseling, workshops and an internship opportunity. Also during her time in the program, Lessie welcomed the birth of her son, Zyaire, who is currently 14 months old. She consistently demonstrated perseverance to overcome obstacles in her life—she was a full-time student, worked at Walmart, and participated in an internship, in addition to caring for her son. Her values were the core of her motivation, and she sought wisdom to apply to her life. After graduating from Lawrence Education Center with a high school diploma, Lessie enrolled at Lincoln Land Community College. She enjoys school and desires to continue her education and complete the requirements of a degree. Lessie has been working at Walmart since November of 2011, and her supervisor compliments Lessie on her customer service skills, good disposition and excellent attendance; she was recently promoted and receives $1.00 more per hour than her starting salary. She has also taken and passed the Walmart Management Exam, and is being considered for a management position. In addition to having a great work ethic, she has worked many holiday shifts, although she would have rather spent the holidays with her son. Lessie states that “When I first got into PYTW, I didn’t know that by the time I graduated I would have two additional friends and mentors in my life that I can always depend on even though my participation in the program has come to an end. When I need anything, they always have had the time for me, even if it’s just for an ear or a hug.” Lessie has achieved some of her goals—and is bound to achieve more. She is a positive influence to those around her. Congratulations Lessie!
, Youth: Education, Year Round
2012 State Energy Sector Business Partnership Award Winner
We are pleased to announce Springfield Clinic as the recipient of the 2012 State Energy Sector ... Read the Story >>
State Energy Sector Partnership
We are pleased to announce Springfield Clinic as the recipient of the 2012 State Energy Sector Business Partnership Award. Joe Feagans, an Operations Manager with Springfield Clinic, along with 2 other employees enrolled in our first Building Operations Certification (BOC) training program. As a result of the energy efficiency training that Joe and his colleagues participated in, the Clinic replaced all F40T12 light fixtures with F32T8 fixtures within two different facilities, accounting for approximately 180 fixtures in all. In addition to the lighting changes, the Clinic is also in the process of upgrading 6 HVAC units to units which are 98% energy efficient. As a result, the Clinic has lowered their monthly utility costs, as well as provided better lighting and a more comfortable environment for both patients and their staff. Springfield Clinic was originally founded in 1939 by five physician partners and was one of the first multi-specialty medical clinics to form in downstate Illinois. The concept became popular among patients and also physicians in the area. Through numerous mergers and physician recruitment, the Clinic became Illinois’ second largest private multi-specialty clinic. Their network now includes more than 20 medical facilities, with approximately half of those facilities in Springfield.
Special project services: State Energy Sector Partnership
Youth Program 2012 Individual Achievement Award Winner
Ashley was awarded funding through WIA and the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance to attend Medical ... Read the Story >>
Ashley was awarded funding through WIA and the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance to attend Medical Office Assistant training at First Institute Training and Management. Having the ability to overcome obstacles—being a single mother seeking a better life for herself and her child, working, and going to school—she was a great inspiration to her class. Her obstacles for employment were never due to her lack of ability, rather they were the result of lacking her own transportation. In fact, once Ashley was able to secure employment, the first thing she bought was a car! She was hired well before her classes were over because her employer, recognizing her talent, was willing to wait for her to complete the program. Ashley has also attended classes online at South University and is currently attending Lincoln Land Community College and is enrolled in the Pre-Pharmacy Program. She has shown that obstacles can be overcome if you work hard and believe in yourself. She is currently working as the Pharmacy Secretary at St. John’s Hospital, after being promoted twice within the last year of her employment. Ashley says that “she will always appreciate the support and guidance she received from her instructor and First Institute Training and Management.” Congratulations Ashley!
Training: Medical Office Assistant/Specialist, Education, Year Round
Logan County Individual Achievement Award Winner
When Craig first came in to our office looking for assistance, he was a Dislocated Worker receiving ... Read the Story >>
When Craig first came in to our office looking for assistance, he was a Dislocated Worker receiving unemployment. In addition, he lacked the skills necessary to find self-sufficient employment without receiving additional training. Craig was interested in the LPN program at Capital Area School of Practical Nursing, but found out he was not eligible for any grants. Craig, a Navy Veteran, was not eligible for the Illinois Veterans Grant, as his time limit had lapsed for the G.I. Bill. Having enough money in savings, however, he decided to enroll and attend classes to become a Certified Nurse’s Aide. Later, Craig was accepted into the LPN program at the Capital Area School of Practical Nursing and was awarded funding through WIA; this opportunity to attend CASPN wouldn’t have been possible without WIA assistance. Craig is most proud of the fact that he was able to take on challenging coursework while also being able to juggle family (he has a 5 year old daughter), and go to school full-time to earn his LPN license. Two weeks after graduation, he went to work at Christian Village in Lincoln on a part-time basis. Having done very well there, Craig is now a full-time employee earning a substantial wage. Craig has accomplished so much—full-time employment, earning a self-sufficient wage, and the ability to work locally without a long commute—which equals more time with his family! Congratulations Craig!
Training: Licensed Practical /Vocational Nurse Training (Lpn, Lvn, Cert, Dipl, Aas)
After Facing Several Lay-offs
In May of 2010, Barbara came into the Taylorville workNet® office seeking services as the ... Read the Story >>
In May of 2010, Barbara came into the Taylorville workNet® office seeking services as the result of being laid off from yet another job. With the economy in a downturn and having gaps in her employment history, times were very tough for Barbara. She had some experience in accounting, bookkeeping and clerical support, but possessed no college education to ensure her full time employment or a self-sufficient wage. After meeting with a counselor at Lincoln Land, Barbara chose to enter the Administrative Office Assistant training program. Although she received funding through the WIA, as well as unemployment insurance, it wasn’t enough to allow her to keep her home. During this very stressful time, and feeling as if she was losing everything, Barbara moved in with a relative. Maintaining persistence, Barbara completed the training program earning the Honor Roll distinction during 3 of her 4 semesters. Barbara also completed an internship program at Taylorville Care Center, excelling in her position and sharing her expertise in accounting, clerical support, and computer knowledge. She earned her degree in May of 2012, and Barbara was offered a full time position at Taylorville Care Center as Department Head of Medical Records. It was on the same date that she accepted her job that she was also able to move into her own apartment. Later in July of 2012, Barbara was able to purchase her own home. Although Barbara had many bumps in the long road, she says, “I received a good education, a lot of learning and growing experiences, and know that a positive attitude helps at all times.” Congratulations Barbara!
Training: Administrative Assistant And Secretarial Science, General
CCNA Training Truly Pays Off!
Terrence was laid off from a Field Service Technician position a few months before he came to ... Read the Story >>
Terrence was laid off from a Field Service Technician position a few months before he came to Workforce Network for help with his job search. As a single parent of three children, he was anxious to get back to work. With over 18 years of experience as a computer service technician/engineer, he found that he was lacking the IT certifications necessary to qualify for available jobs. Through Workforce Network, Terrence received the training to sit for and earn his CCNA-Cisco Certified Network Associate—plus additional training in CCNA Voice and Security. After earning his CCNA certification in February of 2012, he actively participated in the seminars and job club; and on August 18, 2012, he landed a job as a Field Engineer with X-IO Tech, a data network storage company headquartered in Colorado Springs. Terrence was required to participate in seven (7) half-hour phone interviews, and four (4) face-to-face interviews in Colorado before being offered the position. Well worth the effort, Terrence is now earning 40% more than he once did in his previous position. Terrence’s own words attest to the value of the WIA program: “I received my Cisco certification (CCNA) back in February, and I know it was one of the main reasons I landed this job. Thanks to the WIA program for all the help I received [with] training classes and getting my certification. I want to thank the entire job networking staff for all of your help. The seminars and the job club were very beneficial to me [both] as a person and in my job search.”
Help getting a job
Nursing Runs in the Family
My name is Katherine. I am twenty-six years old, and also a single mother of two little boys, ages ... Read the Story >>
My name is Katherine. I am twenty-six years old, and also a single mother of two little boys, ages five and two. I have worked as a CNA since I was fifteen years old, and becoming an RN has been my dream. In fact, I also convinced my mother to go back to college with me, and she too began working to become an RN. I have had to overcome several obstacles during the pursuit of my dream though. I became pregnant with my first child during our first year of prerequisite classes, and not knowing how well I would do with my pregnancy, I decided to withdraw from classes. After becoming pregnant with my second son, I decided to go back to finish my prerequisites so that I could get into the nursing program at IVCC. I had to compete to get accepted into the program by taking extra lab sciences; and my ultimate goal one day is to get my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. I have been truly blessed to have the support of my family throughout this time. My father, who has been unemployed for the last three years, has been taking care of my children while I go to school; and my mother has been the sole provider, working as a nurse. We have been through some very difficult times, but I couldn’t have been successful or gotten this far without the support of BEST Inc. I have lived on my own, in part to receiving financial aid and BEST Inc. helping with tuition and books. While it is often difficult to survive on such limited resources, I have to budget every penny I receive. BEST Inc. also provides me with financial support in the form of mileage reimbursement, and every little bit makes a big difference to me. I have been committed to school, desiring to fully be able to support myself my children, and someday be able to give back to programs such as this. I would not have been able to come this close to reaching my goal without the assistance that I truly needed. I appreciate everything that this program has made possible for me, and words cannot express my gratitude. I thank God every day that I was given the opportunity to fulfill my destiny.
Help getting a job
Central Illinois Business Networking Group
In the Spring of 2010, a small group of business professionals came together with one mission in ... Read the Story >>
Central Illinois Business Networking Group
In the Spring of 2010, a small group of business professionals came together with one mission in mind: “to develop a professional group that would provide learning and networking opportunities for local area businesses.” The result of that meeting led to the formation the Central Illinois Business Networking Group. Its steering committee includes: Betsy Rhynes, Streator Community Credit Union; Angie Kusnerick, Onized Credit Union; Deb Ragusa, Streator Unlimited; TJ Nelson, Oak State Products; Monica Near, IVCC Dislocated Worker Center; and Dianna Schuler, BEST, Inc. Over the past two years this small group has organized and executed low cost trainings for area businesses on topics such as: unemployment and workers compensation, a ten hour OSHA certification, keeping the knowledge - employee retention and generational differences, adapting to change, and, most recently, Word and Excel 2010. Recognizing that many of the area’s small businesses do not have a training budget, the group strives to keep the cost of their events under $30 per person while also providing high quality training. There are no membership fees or dues, no credential required to belong, and no meetings to attend other than the trainings a business elects to attend. The group is informal, down to earth, and proud to be helping the Streator area. To date, 149 local employees have benefited from the events sponsored by the Central Illinois Business Networking Group; and over the coming years, the group anticipates watching that number continue to grow.
Special project services: Central Illinois Business Networking Group
Becoming Highly Competitive
Josh enrolled at the Dislocated Workers Center in November of 2009. After 10 years of ... Read the Story >>
Josh enrolled at the Dislocated Workers Center in November of 2009. After 10 years of dedicated service with the same company, he had been notified that he would be laid-off. During his initial job search, Josh quickly realized that he would need to enhance his skill level in order to compete in the highly competitive local labor market. After doing some career exploration, Josh enrolled in the Electronics/Electricians Program at Illinois Valley Community College. While in training, Josh excelled in his degree, receiving academic honors for most semesters and president’s honors his final semester. In December of 2011, Josh completed his Associates Degree in Electronics/Electricians program and graduated with a 3.59 GPA. After graduation, he found employment with a local manufacturing company in their maintenance department. Josh is extremely pleased with his job and tremendously grateful for our services.
Training: Electrical, Electronic And Communications Engineering Technology/Technician
Determination to Succeed
Luz came to BEST, Inc. seeking financial assistance for training to become a nurse. Her desire and ... Read the Story >>
Luz came to BEST, Inc. seeking financial assistance for training to become a nurse. Her desire and willingness to work to achieve her goal was very evident. However, Luz had many obstacles to overcome in her journey to becoming an RN. Having a language barrier, Luz took English as a second language, which led to her earning her GED and becoming a CNA. During this time her husband became very ill and could no longer work. Luz did not lose her determination to succeed. She stressed how she needed this career to support her family. Luz was accepted into the RN Program, and continued her studies as she worked as a CNA and cared for her family. She never gave up on her dream, and received several job offers upon completing training. She will be working as an RN and happily states, “I was a good example for my children to learn to work hard, and realize you can do anything.” We are very proud of Luz and all she has accomplished!
Help getting a job
An Inspirational Mother
Karen started college in 2009 with the goal of becoming a nurse. As a single mother of five ... Read the Story >>
Karen started college in 2009 with the goal of becoming a nurse. As a single mother of five children at home, she knew she would be unable to work the hours needed to support her family and pay for school. She heard about BEST through the college and applied to the Dixon office for assistance. She was accepted into the program; and BEST helped assist her with the costs of her tuition, books, uniforms and mileage reimbursement. Giving back is important to Karen, and she participated in many extracurricular activities through the college in an effort to both challenge herself and help others. Karen was instrumental in the formation of the college’s new Health Career Club, and she tutored students through the TRIO Student Support Services tutoring program. In addition, she was the Public Relations officer and a member for Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for community colleges; and Karen also participated in Sauk’s Honors program and earned a foundation award. Karen excelled as a student and did it all while working, teaching piano lessons, and participating in all the many trials and joys of raising 5 active children. She graduated with high honors in May 2012, and was immediately hired by KSB Hospital. Karen loves her job, and her next goal is to earn her Masters of Science in Nursing degree.
Help getting a job
A Win-Win Situation
Shortly before Christmas of 2011, Dianna Schuler, Business Services Manager for BEST, Inc., met ... Read the Story >>
Shortly before Christmas of 2011, Dianna Schuler, Business Services Manager for BEST, Inc., met with HCC, Inc. of Mendota to discuss an upcoming recruitment event and explain how BEST, Inc. and the NCI Works Business Services Team could assist them with their needs. On Tuesday, December 27, 2011, the Peru BEST office began accepting and screening applications, and conducted preliminary assessments on 138 individuals (as of June 4, 2012), of which nine have been hired. The recruiting partnership is ongoing with new applicants coming into the Peru BEST office on a fairly regular basis. The support that HCC and their Human Resource department have given to the workforce development system hasn’t stopped with this recruiting effort. HCC was one of twenty businesses taking part in NCI Works’ first ever job fair this past May, with Diane Schallhorn a recent addition to the workforce board. Staff have commented that it is a delight to work with HCC, and specifically with Diane.
WIA services for a business
Amber Measures Up
Unlike many students who begin a program immediately following high school graduation, Amber was 34 ... Read the Story >>
Unlike many students who begin a program immediately following high school graduation, Amber was 34 years old when she entered the Nursing program at IVCC, and had existing responsibilities in addition to the new obligations she had taken on. As a single mother with 3 children, Amber had limited financial support. Along the way, Amber worked, cared for her children, and faced serious health problems in her family which required her time, concern and support. However, through all of this, she continued to succeed. Amber was President of Alpha Delta Nu, a nursing honor society in which membership is based on earning a “B” or above in all nursing classes. She was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an IVCC Honor Society, and the Student Nurses’ Association. Furthermore, Amber was elected to be the speaker at her class’ nursing graduation ceremony. Since a rolling stone gathers no moss, Amber continued to keep rolling right up until her graduation, doing everything necessary to finalize her RN degree, in addition to planning her wedding. True to form, Amber’s camaraderie with her nursing class included the fact that her marriage ceremony was conducted by a fellow graduate and nursing classmate. Steve Jobs once said that “People should be a yardstick of quality.” To that end, Amber has certainly measured up.
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Lee-Ogle Transporation System
The Lee-Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) provides a valuable service in meeting the transportation ... Read the Story >>
Lee-Ogle Transporation System
The Lee-Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) provides a valuable service in meeting the transportation needs of persons with disabilities, older adults and general public. We have been delighted to employ one of your clients and are forever grateful. She has been a tremendous asset with her bilingual skills, which allow us to provide increased transportation for non-English speaking individuals. She has also promoted our service in the public, setting up a new route for young children to be transported to pre-school, and she has stepped in to ride along for the children’s safety. The parents of these children are very excited she has joined our team. The Lee-Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) is a solid collaborative between Lee County, Ogle County and the provider organizations of Lee County Council on Aging, Hub City Senior Center, Rock River Center, Village of Progress, and Kreider Services. From all of us, thank you for what you do. You have our full support!
Lee-Ogle Transportation System
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Persistence Pays Off
Sondra came into the Dislocated Workers Center in January, 2011. After 27 years as an assembler for ... Read the Story >>
Sondra came into the Dislocated Workers Center in January, 2011. After 27 years as an assembler for Honeywell Sensing and Control in Spring Valley, she was shocked to receive notification that they were closing their doors. Left without a job and insurance, she feared that she wouldn’t ever be able to enter into the workplace again. She arrived at the DWC with much apprehension. She hadn’t done well in high school and struggled to obtain her GED. However, with the help of her case manager, over several visits to the center, Sondra put together her resume and began her job search. Initially, things didn’t seem like they were going too well, and the rejection letters started to pile up. Rather than giving in to frustration, Sondra made regular visits to see her case manager and the AFL-CIO Members Assistance program representative at the BEST, Inc. office in Peru. These visits were for both job search assistance as well as moral support. Finally, everyone’s persistence paid off, and Sondra landed a full-time permanent position with health insurance benefits. While the initial pay was not what she had made in her previous job, RTAA reimbursements helped bridge that gap. Since starting in her position, Sondra has already earned two raises! She continues to work hard and still makes regular visits the center to meet with her case manager to keep her informed about what is going on.
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Stories count: 25