Back in 2013 I knew the company I devoted myself to for over 17 years as a machine operator would no longer exist. I was filled with emotions from anger to loss. After all here I am an African American woman over 40yrs. old starting all over again. My dreams of retiring from the company were gone along with my freedom to dream of retirement. The saying “When one door closes another one will open” is true. It took me losing that job to finally finish a dream I longed for which was going back to school and get a degree. After meeting with Pauline Box my counselor I was on my way to do just that. Just one little problem she wanted me to also research some non-traditional options such as Aviation. Pauline believed in me before I did. She knew I could do it. I will say the first semester I was feeling out of my comfort zone. I really never held a ratchet let alone know what it was. I should say my first year was rough. I have been out of school for over 20 plus years and I had to hit the ground sprinting. I was hit with Physics, Trigonometry, Hydraulics, Sheet metal, Electricity, Generators and the list goes on! My teachers saw potential in me as well. They also encouraged me to push through it and not give up. By my second semester I was ready for whatever the program had. My confidence level excelled through the roof. I was slowly breaking out of that “fear”. I just realized how really blessed I was to have this opportunity to learn a new trade, but also encourage more women to look into this field. I was filled with confidence that I was able to reach back and help students that were struggling with the courses. My last year I was able to hold a 4.0 G.P.A. to the end of the program. Having now received my A&P Mechanic License, words can’t explain the joy I have. I walked into an unknown field, but walked out feeling a part of a tight knit organization. I am so thankful I was given a second chance to get a degree. I am now working as an Aviation Electronic Technician making $19.20 per hour full- time and looking forward not to the past!
Amber Waterman came to the WIOA program after becoming unemployed due to a complication in her pregnancy and an elimination of her position at Carle Clinic. She faced the challenge of finding new employment as she had work experience but no formal training. She realized that her best chance to find suitable employment was to go back to school to further her education. Amber started at Lake Land College in the Associate Degree in Nursing program in July 2014. While attending LLC, she started working part-time for Sara Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon in the Diagnostic Imaging Department as clinical support. After graduating from LLC in the Spring of 2016, Amber was hired full-time as an RN in the 3East Wing at SBLHC. Amber stated that without the WIOA program she would never be able to afford the tuition, uniforms, books and supplies. "This program has given me the opportunity to further my education so that I am able not only to find a new job, but to start a successful career. My family and I are forever grateful for this life-changing opportunity."
"Due to a merger of my previous employer with another company, I was laid off and was unemployed for about one year. I have an associate’s degree in science from the College of DuPage and a bachelor's degree, also in science from DePaul University. I applied for many positions while out of work but received few responses and even fewer interview opportunities. Through the assistance and training provided by TEC Services, I was able to earn my CompTIA A+ certification. The ITLaunch program also enabled me to acquire real-world work experience that helped me rebuild my confidence after being out of the workforce for so long. TEC Services also helped me to identify a career pathway that would help me to continue to develop in my professional employment opportunities. Finally, through TEC Services’ job placement assistance, I was able to find my current place of employment. Currently, I work for Support Techs, LLC, which provides technical support for one of the largest manufacturers of wireless networking equipment in the industry. My day-to-day duties include assisting customers and troubleshooting their technical issues. Without the technical skills and work experience provided by TEC Services and the IT Launch program, I would never have been capable of tackling the wide range of daily challenges that my current position presents. I am very appreciative of the investment that DCEO, Will County and TEC Services made in me and my career pathway. I hope that programs like this continue to assist others that are in the long-term unemployment situation that I was able to overcome."