“WIA is Extremely Helpful for Older Workers Like Me Who Find it Challenging to Start a New Career!”
By: Amy Johnson, Forward Service Corporation’s WIA Adult Case Manager

Download a printable version of Marlene’s Success Story.

Marlene Schmirler NCWWDB Success StoryMarlene thought she would end her professional career working as a Senior Proof Operator for M&I bank. In August 2009, after 39 years of service, she was told that her position was eliminated. She immediately enrolled in the Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. Her
husband’s income was enough to pay the bills but too much for her to qualify for any federal grants through financial aid. She sought out the assistance of the WIA Adult Program in March of 2010.

Marlene started the enrollment process with Forward Service Corporation’s (FSC) Case Manager, Anikka Wattnem. Anikka determined Marlene’s WisCareers interest and skill results, administrative experience, and desire to work in a high-demand occupation, made her a good fit for training. Marlene excelled in her studies, making the President’s List, and with a renewed confidence decided to continue the career pathway into receiving her Heath Care Business Services Associate Degree.

In the spring of 2011, Marlene started working with FSC Case Manager Amy Johnson. She said she was very discouraged in her job search and felt that her age may be playing a role in her not being hired. They began reworking Marlene’s resume to highlight her experience and skills and draw attention away from her age and religious involvements. Within weeks, Marlene started getting interviews at the hospitals and clinics she was applying to. She immediately called Amy to prepare and review for the upcoming interviews. Marlene was hopeful that she was on the path to reemployment.

In August, Marlene’s husband received a permanent layoff notice from his job. Amy and Marlene worked on budgeting and found that with WIA assisting with tuition, the family could squeak by on her husband’s unemployment. Marlene now had even more determination to get employed and finish her degree.

On August 3rd, 2012, Marlene called Amy to inform her she had been offered a full time position at Aspirus Hospital as a data entry clerk and she’d also be able to use this for her internship experience. She was able to finish her last four classes and graduated with her associate degree in December.

“Before coming into the program I was a bit discouraged because of all the stories I had heard from people about
the impossibilities of finding a job at my age. The monthly meetings that Amy held were a great encouragement to me. There were times when I wanted to quit school, but the meetings were very timely and kept me anticipating graduation and my eventual job. I think the program is extremely helpful for older workers like me who may find it extra challenging to start a new career.”

Pictured left to right: Forward Service Corporation’s WIA Adult Case Manager Amy Johnson and WIA Program Participant Marlene Schmirler.

Pictured left to right: Forward Service Corporation’s WIA Adult Case Manager Amy Johnson and WIA Program Participant Marlene.



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