Download printable version of Joshua’s success story
Joshua is a young adult on a mission to secure a career. He wasn’t exactly sure what his career goals were, but he had a desire to become independent. Joshua is not at all shy about having characteristics on the autism spectrum. Instead, he has owned his challenges and has embraced every opportunity to move forward. First, he completed a four month work experience through a program at Wausau West High School. This early work experience eventually connected him to Der Lo, and then to Amy Hoppa, two caring and resourceful workforce development professionals at the Marathon County Job Center. Joshua took advantage of every opportunity during his first year in the WIA/WIOA programs. He attended several workshops offered at the job center, including resume, interviewing, financial education, shopping and nutrition, dressing for success and public speaking. Joshua earned a Silver National Career Readiness Certificate. Joshua went on to complete another work experience at the Marathon County Public Library. There he was able to practice his social skills he learned in the workshops at the job center. He then earned his Employability Skills Certificate (ESC) to add to his portfolio. WIA/WIOA assisted Joshua in obtaining his Driver’s License, moving him another step closer to becoming independent. Did I mention he embraced every opportunity that came his way?
This may all sound like a piece of cake, but Joshua acknowledged his challenges. And like many young adults, Joshua experienced emotional challenges. During this journey, Joshua experienced the tragic loss of his grandfather, the man who raised him and whom he called Dad. Despite this tremendous loss, Joshua persevered.
His Career Planners at the job center assisted Joshua in enrolling into the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) for additional services. Joshua now had another caring and resourceful workforce development professional standing in his corner, Keele Wescott. Joshua took the big step of starting his post-secondary career goal of Journalism at UW- Marathon County. He learned that this was not the exact career suited for him. He then transferred to Northcentral Technical College to pursue a degree in Video Production. While focusing on his studies, Joshua also took time to volunteer at United Way and Salvation Army. He also applied his newly learned social skills while becoming a speaker on student panels for events such as Transition to Adulthood, Community Conversation and Autism Conferences. Joshua went on to graduate with his Associate Degree in Video Production in May 2018. He completed his final semester of 15 credits with straight A’s, giving him a GPA of 3.1.
WIOA created another opportunity for Joshua. Amy Hoppa assisted Joshua in securing a paid internship with WSAW, a local broadcasting station. Joshua has been working at WSAW since September 11th editing the evening news. Joshua is excited about this opportunity, and is hopeful about what could come next. Congratulations Joshua!
This success story highlights the importance of WIOA collaboration. The two workforce programs, each with different specialties, joined forces and resources to help Joshua reach his career goal. I would like to thank all those involved.