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WAI Success Stories: October – December 2022


Jime Gonzalez was happy with his career in manufacturing until he suffered a spinal injury. No longer able to work in manufacturing, he decided to pursue a career in Information Technology (IT) and enrolled in EMI's Fresh Coast Tech Up IT Training. In the success story video, Jime speaks about how he completed training and now is looking to grow in his career in the IT field.


Signicast and Wilo were success stories:


2 participants have obtained FT employment after earning their CDL licenses. 1 participant earned her Certified Nurse's Aide license and is attending high school while working part time in her field. 1 participant has obtained a PT receptionist position after working with WAI and DVR for several months. She has long term affects form COVID and it has been challenging for her to get where she is today because of it, so happy for her! 1 participant obtained and started FT employment as a music teacher after being out of the role for several years due to AODA issues.


Success Story 1

COMSA – "Both of our participants that graduated during this quarter faced several challenges. Both are the sole income for their household and were not able to afford paying for class A CDL training on their own. One participant had to relocate due to things related to his resettlement during the program. The other participant had to navigate the challenge of changing his family's income source and finding childcare, so he was able to continue on with the program. Both participants had their training paid for by WAI. The first participant from above co-enrolled with WIOA. COMSA's office provided CDL case management services along with assistance from our Afghan Community Navigator to help him navigate his resettlement. WIOA assisted with some vehicle repair and rental expenses.

Success Story 2

The second participant's wife was able to begin work as he had to leave his job for the behind the wheel course. With supportive service assistance of WIOA, he was able to place his children in childcare, so he was able to attend his program training. As his children were home on the weekends, he would come to the COMSA office to use a computer and have a quiet place to study. We have had two participants graduate from the training program this quarter. Both participants are now searching for employment with the assistance of Mike Ruminski from the Worker Connection Program. Both of these participants were enrolled in WIOA prior to the beginning of the theory course at Fox Valley Technical College. We have received notification from Fox Valley Technical College that both participants have graduated. Once the participants obtain employment, we will ask them where they are working and how much they expect to make and explain the information is only for the use of program reporting". (COMSA will be forwarding training completion certificates and copies of participant Commercial Driver's License to BAWDB as soon as they receive them from participants). Below picture: first CDL graduate from COMSA's WAI grant funded program.

Success Story 3

We Are Hope – "Not having worked in 13 years due to injuries suffered in a car accident, she is now in a place where she wants to get back to full-time employment and self-sustaining income. Already enrolled in DVR, she was referred to Workforce Advancement Initiative programming to help with her soft skills and preparation for employment. She has had to overcome significant barriers. We focused on overcoming those barriers in our first training module as well as building up her confidence due to the barriers she has faced and the time frame she has been out of the workforce. Now just completing our third training module, she recently started a temporary work experience through DVR to gain current work exposure. We will offer support throughout this process.

Success Story 4

Another participant used our services a number of years ago; remembered that and came back. Having lost her job due to the owners of the company retiring, she wanted to apply for jobs but was not ready. She was flustered, stressed, and didn't know what to do as she was contemplating a career transition. She was looking for help with her job search, career exploration, resume, cover letter and interviewing skills. Now enrolled in WAI, she has her resume updated, has done (and continues) her career search and has applied for jobs. She had a job interview on Oct. 21. We also discussed fiscal awareness as it relates to a budget and finding a self-sustaining wage to support her lifestyle. She says, "I appreciate all the services you provide."

Success Story 5

gener8tor – "Jaime joined gener8tor Skill's August IT Help Desk program looking to make a career change into an IT role. Before coming to gener8tor, Jamie worked as an educator at a local environmental organization along with past work in retail sales and youth services. As a first-generation American, Jamie was motivated to make a shift to IT and saw the gener8tor Skills program as a way to do so. Jamie stayed motivated during the program and despite falling slightly behind in the middle of the program, he utilized the support and encouragement from his Career Coach who was able to ensure he graduated on time. Due to Jaime's perseverance, not only did he successfully graduate but he received a job offer before he even officially graduated from the program. Utilizing his new job searching skills and networking strategies, Jamie connected with and received a job offer at a local public school district as an IT Services Technician which gave him the ability to use his new skills while combining them with the transferrable skills he had from past education and youth services roles". (gener8tor obtained this data and story by combining the information provided by Jaime during the application process with the weekly case notes from his career coach and information/job updates directly from Jaime)


Success Story 1

"Client was referred to WIOA DW program in spring 2022 by Karl's Transport as the client had indicated that he was recently laid off when he was inquiring about CDL training. This is a prime example of how training providers can recognize there are resources that can assist their students and subsequently make referrals.

The client was interested in completing his Class A CDL. His previous employment as a powder coater was eliminated and many of these jobs are now being replaced by robotics or outsourced. The Career Planner also reviewed the LMI [Labor Market Index] with the client and this indeed is the situation in the local and region.

When he initially met with the Career Planner, the client indicated that he had very limited financial resources to attend this training and was not even sure how he could complete this training without some outside assistance. He was receiving UI benefits, however the amount each week was greatly reduced as he was required to court ordered child support.

The Career Planner reviewed his eligibility for WIOA DW, in addition to WAI and Support to Communities grants. As part of the enrollment process, the Career Planner reviewed his career interests, basic skills, along with basic computer skills, his overall household budget, and prior recent employment history.

With the coordination of these multiple find sources available he was able to attend the CDL Training at Karl's Transport with started at the end of May and ended in the middle of July. Assistance was provided for the tuition and transportation along with WAI incentives. This training was not FAFSA eligible. Without all of these resources, the client would not have been able to attend nor successfully complete his training.

The client obtained his Class A CDL and began full-time employment in late August. His new employer had indicated that he is a good driver, hard worker, and a great addition to their company. After speaking with the client recently, I could tell he is enjoying his new career path."

Success Story 2

"Craig worked for a medical health care facility as a video specialist. In August 2020, Craig was informed that his job was being eliminated and that he would be permanently laid-off. The sudden shock of losing his job was unexpected. Craig eventually realized he needed to upgrade his skills in order to find a new job in a high-demand career field with a self-sustaining wage.

After being out of work for nearly 2 years, Craig met with LETC Career Planner John Peters in July 2022 and soon enrolled into the WIOA Dislocated Worker Program. Craig worked with John to complete the required career assessments and develop his employment plan. Craig eventually decided to enroll into the Truck Driver training program at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. Craig started his training in late August 2022 and is enrolled in both the Employment Recovery and WAI grants.

Craig is doing well in his training program and is looking forward to graduating on October 20th, 2022."


Success Story 1

HF was part of a cohort CNA class NWHS and funded either by WIOA or WAI depending on qualifications at the time of enrollment and was created for multiple high school students that are living in a rural area and have transportation issues or other barriers in place that make getting to the college located roughly 25 miles away a challenge. HF applied for WIOA and had been told he did not qualify. CP researched & found out that due to the guidelines he WOULD qualify for funding for WAI. HF was able to take the course and was one of the two students offered employment right away working FT in a nearby nursing home as a CNA. If that funding was not available, he would not have been able to take the course and would have had to find the money on his own to cover the class at different time.

Success Story 2

ST is a 44-year-old, single, white male who had not been employed for several years due to incarceration. He was living in a home owned by his parent. He had only finished 11th grade in school. He has children he was struggling to support. He was looking to get his CDL license but could not afford to do so on his own. He had enrolled in FSET and co-enrolled in WAI/WIOA to assist with his expenses associated with his goals. ST started his training towards the end of July. During training, he took one of the younger students under his wing who was an OSY. They both passed their exams. ST successfully completed the training for his CDL on August 30, passed all of the required exams, and is now a driver with his commercial license as of August 30. ST was very excited to get started and complete his training. Afterward he said "Never let someone tell you, you can't do something. Never let someone tell you, you're no good. Never let your past predict your future." He was hired as a truck driver in mid-September, making $22/hr, and stated "what a great day. I passed my test to be a milk hauler. And they gave me a ham sub and a Pepsi. Now I'm on my own."

Success Story 3

MM came to us via word of mouth from a potential employer. She had just finished high school and had no prior work experience. She was applying for her very first job! We were able to enroll her in a WEX at Buck & Beams Social House and Campground for the summer as a kitchen aide and general grounds helper. She was not only successful in her work tasks- gaining valuable work ethic and job skills but also gained so many social skills! MM was very shy and did not comfortably interact with many people outside her close friends and family. By the end of her WEX, she is VERY comfortable interacting with and holding conversations with just about everyone in public. It's amazing to have witnessed this transition in her and see her come out of her shell. She has since been put on the payroll as a permanent employee. Last update, she has now completed training and obtained her bartending license and will continue employment while she attends a trade school (to which she has narrowed down to two trades but not decided) and will most likely continue her employment even beyond school, if even only part time at that point. We will keep a close eye on Madison and may be able to use WAI funds to help with part of her schooling.

Success Story 4

When DM first came to us, she was enrolled at Lake Superior College looking to obtain a Medical Assistant degree. She was referred to us by EverGrow Learning Center applying for summer work as an Assistant Teacher at the daycare. We enrolled her in a WEX at the daycare and the experience had such a positive effect on her that by the end of her contract, she decided to change her major to Early Childhood Development and continue to work with children long term.

Success Story 5

JB continues to find success. Since last quarter, he has started his own business (Hometown Renovations LLC) and currently has one employee. He is trying to navigate a grant for released felons that will help him hire more convicted felons for his new business. He has moved up fast in the ranks since he started with his current employer and is frequently tasked with running crews of new guys and teaching them how to frame walls, run strong backs, etc. He plans to continue bootstrapping his own business with paychecks from the larger company until he can find enough money to do it full time.

Success Story 6

One student shared this message with her last assignment submission – "I wanted to take a moment to thank for all of the kind words and feedback. It has been a long time since I've been the one in school, and this has given me the confidence needed to take the next step. I am currently in the process of applying to UW Stout for an online ECE Bachelor program, leading to a teaching license. These classes were the catalyst to get myself in gear! Thank you!"

WDA 10

Success Story 1

The DOC Carpentry CPA cohort had one participant that was able to find employment within two weeks of the completion of the cohort as a builder at Windsor Building Systems. Upon release, this participant had a full-time job, making $19.50/hr and is now interested in earning his Class A CDL so he can enter a new position and earn more money at his current employer.

Success Story 2

The DOC Electro-Mechanical CPA Cohort will be graduating on December 20th. This cohort was developed through a partnership with the WDBSCW, DOC, and the Madison Area Technical College and is successfully supporting 8 justice-involved individuals through 12-week electro-mechanical CPA. The participation incentives were provided through WAI and the WDBSCW is working with approved employers to attend an interview event for the participants with the hope that some will be hired on. The WDBSCW will continue to partner with the DOC and area employers to match the participants with work-release employment opportunities in this industry.

WDA 11

Success Story 1

5 Graduates from Early Childhood Education – 2 are going on to get bachelor's degrees, one is sub teaching, and another is managing a daycare. This part of the grant has proven to be very popular, and students are grateful for the help.

Success Story 2

AIM Project had 2 students that continued on. 1 in a registered YA and another that received the IDEAL scholarship. She began the Electro-Mechanical Tech Program, and the scholarship pays full tuition, fees, internship, and stipend to help offset living expenses while she finishes her degree.

Success Story 3

2 other AIM students moved on to YA at Scot Forge and Charter Next Generation. Another AIM Student is going to BTC for her degree in Automation, she is now in our RISE UP project, and we are paying for her tuition, fees, supportive services, and a stipend.