Story submitted by: WIA Youth Program Case Manager, Der Lo – Forward Service Corporation

Download a printable version of Bessie’s Success Story.


In 2013, Bessie moved to Wausau. She and her family left Chicago in hopes of a better life. Bessie helped her mother care for her younger siblings; getting good grades and completing high school seemed impossible. Bessie understood education was necessary in creating a brighter future. Bessie’s first goal was to find employment so she made a visit to the Job Center. There she met Der Lo, WIA Youth Case Manager. They explored local employment opportunities and possible careers paths to fit Bessie’s interests. A couple days later, Eastbay in Wausau hired Bessie on the spot to join their call center team. Bessie and Der continued to meet at the Job Center. Together they identified the barriers, and specific strategies to address them. Bessie was on cloud nine, and very motivated to improve her future. She enrolled herself into the HSED program at NTC. Bessie excelled in all her classes; she also formed lasting bonds with her teachers and classmates. As Bessie finished the HSED program, she was asked to be the class speaker at her high school graduation in June of 2014.

After high school, Der set up a job shadow with First Impressions Pediatrics and Orthodontics in Bessie’s first career choice – Dental Hygienist. Soon after, Bessie started the coursework in the Dental Hygienist program at NTC. Bessie began to realize this career would not be a good fit for her. Bessie and Der went back to theBessie WIA Youth career drawing board. They continued researching other career options and looked closer at her skills. Bessie decided to change her educational goals to Marketing where she could use her creative mind and exceptional customer service skills.

Bessie is currently carrying a 3.2 grade point average, and anticipates graduating in the spring of 2016 with an Associate Degree in Marketing. From there, she plans to transfer to UW-Whitewater to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Public Relations. These are awesome accomplishments and plans from a teenager who landed in Wausau nearly two years ago feeling that completing high school was out of her reach.

In Bessie’s own words, “I would like to say thank you to Der and the WIA Youth Program for giving me the self-confidence and the work readiness skills I can now utilize in my life, and for helping me become who I am today.”



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