“The WIA Program Changed my Life”
Submitted by: Amy Johnson, Forward Service Corporation’s WIA Case Manager
Download a printable version of Kim Johnson’s Success Story.
Kim Johnson came to a WIA Adult information session at the Marathon County Job Center in September 2009. She had been out of the traditional workforce since 1994, opting to be a stay-at-home mom of four boys and running an in-home daycare. She knew that she was ready for a career change and wanted to see how she could get help making the transition. Case Manager, Anikka Wattnem with Forward Service Corporation gave Kim information on high-demand occupations and encouraged her to attend the Career Decisions course at Northcentral Technical College to determine what she may want to go to school for. Kim quickly decided a career in Information Technology was the right fit for her. She enrolled at NTC to start in January 2010 and came back to get enrolled in WIA.
Kim excelled in all her classes and only received one B the entire time she was in school. She honed her time management skills, going to school full-time and having kids in her daycare 90 hours a week. Kim even decided to go for a second Associate Degree as many of her classes overlapped. She had hopes to graduate in December 2012 with degrees in IT Programmer/Analyst and Computer Support Specialist thus expanding her opportunities of
employment. Kim made it seem easy but living 24 miles from school, having a limited income and a husband that was not very supportive added additional stress to her already full plate. Being in the WIA Adult program, she was able to get the tuition and mileage assistance as well as the moral support that she needed.
In November 2011, Kim met with her FSC Case Manager Amy Johnson for their monthly update and informed her that Collaborative Consulting, an IT company new to the area, was having a hiring event the following week. Kim wasn’t planning on applying for jobs until May, but they started working on polishing up her resume and cover letter in preparation of this event. Amy also reminded Kim of her all her accomplishments and qualities and encouraged her to be confident in talking with employers. Five months later, Kim called to let Amy know she had job offers from two different companies and was in wage negotiations with both. She ended up accepting the offer from Collaborative Consulting, started her new career as a QA Analyst on June 1st, and has been happily working there since.
Kim writes: “Without the WIA program I don’t think I would have been able to go back to school. My life has changed so much in the past couple of years; I went back to school, I am now divorced and working full-time outside of the home. With the help of the WIA program I was able to get two associate degrees and graduate without any additional debt. I have been able to find a great job which I love, and support my four children, all on my own. My self-confidence has gone up so much now that I feel I could do anything. The WIA program changed my life. Thanks for everything!” ~ Kim Johnson