Utilizing His Resources – WilliamWilliam was unfortunately part of the ASARCO layoff back in October 2022. He was outreached by Rapid Response and participated in an on-site resume assistance that we provided out at the plant. William came to the Training Services department for job search assistance in October 2022 and actively participated each week. We are proud and excited to say that William found employment with the City of Amarillo as a Quality Control Technician in January 2023!
Trusting the Process – HaydenHayden applied to our Training Services department in August of 2022. He’s an individual with a disability, lives in a small town, and wanted assistance with obtaining a paid-work experience, which would hopefully become a permanent job for him. Training Services assisted Hayden with obtaining a paid work experience at a local employer in his hometown. During his paid work experience, his supervisor raved about what a great, dependable employee he was, saying he’s always on time, works hard, and always willing to do whatever he was asked to do. His supervisor wanted to hire him but did not have the budget to hire him until the end of December, so we extended his paid work experience and he was hired as a full-time employee at the end of the paid work experience in December of 2022. Hayden is still with his employer and is doing great.
Finishing What They Started – BrendaBrenda was enrolled for Training Assistance with the RN Transition program at Amarillo College. She came in to Workforce Solutions Panhandle needing assistance to make sure she could complete her final semester. She was having a difficult time paying her bills since she had gotten divorced and her ex-spouse had quit paying child support for her four children. Brenda was a LVN, but was not able to make enough to support all of her children on her salary. We assisted Brenda with a mortgage payment and some transportation assistance to get her through her final semester. Child care also enrolled her quickly to ensure she had care to attend her classes for a successful outcome. Brenda graduated in December, obtained her licensure and is now working at BSA making $34.60 per hour, but with night and weekend differential is closer to $40.00 per hour.
Taking Big Steps – ZeinabZeinab enrolled for Training Assistance with the RN Transition program at Amarillo College. She’s originally from South Africa and her native language is Somali. When Zeinab started at Amarillo College, she had to take classes to pass her GED. Zeinab was then accepted into the LVN program and became a LVN. Zeinab came to WSP requesting assistance with her RN Transition. Zeinab did so well in her classes that she was helping her classmates. She was referred to Child Care Services when she enrolled in to Training Services as her spouse was out of the country taking care of his sick parents. Her spouse was out of the country for most of her training and she has 2 children at home. Zeinab managed to take care of them and graduate with high honors when she received her ADN (Associated Degree in Nursing). She told us at our last contact that AC wants to do a documentary on her life, showing how she came to this country and overcame obstacles.
Making a Better Life – David
David applied for Training Services assistance with Firefighter training. At the time of his application, he was employed with Continuous Gutters in Sales and Installation. He was working full time, often having to drive out of town and was earning $15.50 per hour.
David is married and has one child and at the time was struggling to make ends meet. He was accepted into the Fire Academy at Amarillo College and received his Basic Structural Firefighter certificate. David went on to train as an Emergency Medical Technician, which, with few exceptions, is required before being able to obtain employment as a Firefighter.
David completed training, took his state exam and received his EMT certification. He is now employed at the Amarillo Fire Department, earning approximately $25.45 per hour. David is excited with his new career and being able to work at something he loves doing. He is now self-sufficient for his family size.
Shining a Light – Christopher
Christopher is a 48-year-old who had been incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system since 205. He was released on parole on 10/11/2022 and was enrolled in SNAP E&T services on 10/25/2022. He came to his initial appointment with a positive attitude and a set of goals that included finding full-time employment within one month.
He’s required to wear an ankle monitor 24/7 until he finds employment and remains employed for 60 days as a condition of his parole. This made going out to do “in-person” job contacts an obstacle. Even with this limitation, he was able to attend the Hiring Red, White, and You! job fair with his parole officer’s approval, and made sure to follow through on each job lead he was given as well as attending all of his scheduled appointments. Workforce Solutions Panhandle assisted Christopher with job referrals, supportive services and resume building.
The career specialist assisted him with updating and formatting his resume. He was also provided hard copies of his resume to take to job fairs and interviews and a digital copy to upload to his Work in Texas account and other job search sites. We were also able to assist with getting him formal wear for job interviews. On November 22nd, he came up to the office to report that he had been offered a job at Tyson Fresh Meats as a Maintenance Mechanic, working 40 hours/week at $21.75.
His first day was the following Monday, November 28th for orientation. After he started employment, Christopher received supportive services including assistance with getting work attire and fuel cards to get back and forth to work. Christopher stayed positive through the whole process and took his job search very seriously from day one. He was able to see his “barriers” as opportunities and never let rejection diminish his spirit. He continues to work on his goals to self-sufficiency which include repaying his family for their help and saving enough money to purchase investment property within the first year of his release.
He’s focused on leading by example to help others in his position feel worth and fulfill their goals in life.
Christopher sent one of our staff members this email: “Hope you’re doing well. I’m so excited I get to go out to Tyson at 12 o’clock and pick up my first paycheck that I have had in 20 years. I’m so blessed!! Thank you so much for all your help, encouragement, and the financial “hand-up.” I couldn’t have done it without you and Workforce Solutions. You’ll are the best!! Now I just need to get it where I have money left over!! Hopefully you’ll can still help me with some gas cards while I’m catching up and in retention.?? Have a fantastic day… if you want to!! Great job!”
Bouncing Back – Justin
Justin requested workforce services on 9/9/22 as he had recently relocated to Amarillo from Abilene. His wife had passed away in March 2022 and this left him devastated. Out of financial necessity, he moved into an apartment with a roommate in Abilene. However, the customer’s roommate stole his identifying papers and most of his clothes, that’s when he decided to move to Amarillo to live with his sister. The customer was enrolled in SNAP E&T services on 9/12/2022. From his initial appointment, he was always positive, high energy, and eager to do his best on everything. His goals were to move out of his sister’s house into a place of his own as soon as possible in order to pay his sister back for agreed-on shared expenses, and to work to earn enough money to start his own business. Workforce Solutions Panhandle assisted him with job referrals, interview appropriate clothing and supportive services such as fuel cards. Justin started a job in late September but, lifting heavy objects proved to be something he was not able to do and the company and customer agreed to part ways. Justin immediately went back to looking for another job. He received his next job offer with Amazon in mid-October and the start date on that job wasn’t until 11/6/2022. Justin accepted the Amazon job; but, there was another job he wanted more. The job he wanted more offered better pay, opportunities to move up in a great company, and he’d be doing something he’s good at and enjoys doing. Justin started at Amazon on November 6th but he then received a job offer from Xcel Energy, which was the job he really wanted. The start date for this job wasn’t until late November and Justin made the decision that he would work both full-time jobs until he completed training at Xcel Energy. Justin has found an apartment that he can afford and has been able to move out of his sister’s house. Since he has been working, he is paying his sister back a little at a time because she helped him so much. Justin shared this message with our staff: “To whom it may concern, I want to give big praises to your team from Crystal at the front, to my caseworker Ms. White, and to her boss. My experience has been nothing short of wonderful.” A staff member later shared this message from a phone conversation she had with Justin on December 12th: “He just wanted to thank me for all the help that he had gotten from workforce since the day he first came into the center. He had nothing but praise for everyone he came in contact with. He is well on his way to becoming self-sufficient.”
Breaking Barriers – PaulinoPaulino enrolled in SNAP E&T services in October of 2022. He had not worked in 8 years due to being incarcerated. Once we got him enrolled, we provided assistance with job referrals, resume preparation and supportive services such as fuel cards. He was able to find employment and started a job on Nov. 17th. He is currently employed as a Cook for Dairy Queen. Customer does not have his own transportation but this did not prevent him from becoming employed quickly. He’s asking the employer to give him as many work hours as possible because he’s trying to get his driver’s license renewed and surcharges to pay to get that accomplished. Paulino said he did learn about plumbing while in prison and would eventually like to get a job in that field.
A Constant Want to Be Better – AbagailAbagail is a single mother with two young children who applied for Training Services assistance on August 11, 2020. Abagail was working part-time for a janitorial company, but she had been accepted into the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program and was therefore seeking assistance with the cost of the LVN training at Amarillo College so that she could earn more money to take care of her two children. She was going to receive a Pell grant to pay for her tuition and fees, but she needed assistance with the cost of books, the required uniforms, and transportation assistance. Abagail lives in Sunray and the LVN training was in Amarillo at the Amarillo College West Campus, so she also needed fuel cards to help her with the cost of driving round trip between Sunray and Amarillo five days per week. Also, because she was going to be working part-time while attending college, she needed to utilize as much of her financial aid as possible to help her to pay her monthly expenses. On August 24, 2020, Abagail began the LVN training at Amarillo College. Training Services was able to help Abagail with tuition, fees, books, scrubs, and fuel cards to help her attend college. She also obtained child care assistance to help her pay for daycare for her two children while she was working or in classes and clinicals. She continued to have monthly meetings with her Training Services case manager, Valerie, sometimes by phone to accommodate Abagail’s busy schedule, and sometimes meeting Abagail at the AC West Campus to give her fuel cards since Abagail was short on time with work, classes, clinicals, and driving back and forth from Sunray. But all that hard work paid off, and on May 14, 2021 Abagail graduated from the LVN program and Amarillo College and obtained her LVN license. By the time she graduated from the LVN program, Abagail had decided to continue her education and become a registered nurse (RN), which would help her to earn a better income and provide a good life for her two children. She applied to and was accepted into the Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program at Amarillo College, and on August 23, 2021 she began the ADN program at the Amarillo College Dumas Campus. While Training Services was not able to provide as much financial assistance with the ADN program, Abagail continued to receive financial aid and Training Services was able to assist by helping her with the cost of tuition, fees, and books. She still had to drive to campus, but this time she only had to drive five days a week between Sunray and Dumas. She continues to work part-time for a janitorial company, and in September 2022 she also took an additional job working a few hours a week as an LVN. She also continues to receive child care assistance to help her with the cost of daycare. On August 22, 2022, she began the final semester of college for the ADN program, and she is excited to graduate with her Associate Degree of Nursing in December 2022 and become a registered nurse. She may continue her education in the future to earn her Bachelor of Nursing degree, but after she graduates in December she is ready for a nice, long break from classes after spending the past two and half years in classes and clinicals.
Sky is the Limit! – BeverlyBeverly was laid off from Julie’s Hallmark in March of 2022 when the owners retired and closed the business. She was outreached by our Customer Services department regarding potential services available through the Workforce Innovations Opportunity Act (WIOA). Beverly was initially hesitant to receive assistance as she was waiting to start a job with Southwest Airlines. After a little encouragement that WIOA was here to help in the mean time, she finally admitted that she could use assistance with purchasing the shoes required for her uniform and rent to make it until she begins receiving regular paychecks. WIOA was able to assist with both and Beverly began her employment without the stress of having to pay double rent or possible eviction.
Sticking It Out – KetzallyKetzally is a 21-year-old woman who applied for Training Services assistance on November 8, 2021 for assistance with Phlebotomy training. She was working part-time as a waitress earning $2.13/hour + tips, but did not want to be a waitress long-term. Ketzally said her short-term goal was to attend Phlebotomy training and work as a Phlebotomist, and her long-term goal is to become a registered nurse. On January 18, 2022, she began the Phlebotomy training at Amarillo College. When they began doing needle sticks in February, she was initially a little nervous but after doing it a few times she reported it wasn’t as difficult as she thought it would be. By April, she reported that she was comfortable drawing blood, and she had already been offered two positions as a Phlebotomist. She accepted the position with BSA Hospital, and began working there in May 2022 earning $15.50/hour. With WIOA assistance via tuition, fees, books, scrubs, and fuel cards, she completed the clinical portion of the Phlebotomy training in May 2022 and is currently studying to take the Phlebotomy state exam. In addition, Ketzally wants to continue her education, so she can achieve her long-term goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Ketzally had previously attended college and knew she had some of the pre-requisites for the ADN program at Amarillo College, but when we looked at her transcript we realized she actually had completed ALL of the pre-requisites! Ketzally will be meeting with her advisor at Amarillo College to discuss the ADN program and taking the HESI exam so that she can apply to the ADN program at Amarillo College and achieve her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
Location, Location, Location – MeganMegan is a Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) participant and a Vocational Rehab customer. Her long-term goal is to work in the medical field as an occupational therapist. She lives in Friona, so there were not a lot of options for a paid work experience in the medical field there in the area. But after speaking with the Human Resources director at Parmer Medical Center in Friona, she interviewed Megan and decided they would like to participate in the SEAL program. After a lot of back and forth, we obtained an non financial agreement with Parmer Medical Center and Megan began working as a receptionist there on June 9, 2022, where she was welcomed with open arms (even the director of the hospital came in to meet her and welcome her!). Her supervisor had nothing but good things to say about Megan during the paid work experience and on August 8, 2022, Megan became a part-time, permanent employee of Parmer Medical Center!
Setting the Ground Work – KyleeKylee is a Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) participant and a Vocational Rehabilitation customer. Her long-term goal is to work on a farm and she began working with Blue Sky Farms in June 2021 as a farm employee in a paid work experience. After completing a SEAL paid work experience last summer, she continued working there through VR paid work experiences during the school year, and then completed another SEAL paid work experience on July 29, 2022, working on the farm and in the office. Kylee was a great employee and Blue Sky Farms wanted to hire her, but they were not sure if it would work with Kylee’s school schedule. Fortunately, they were able to work it out and on August 1, 2022, Kylee became a full-time, permanent employee of Blue Sky Farms!
Adding to Their Portfolio – AnthonyAnthony applied for Training Services in February of 2022, requesting assistance with obtaining employment and experience in automotive or Diesel mechanic training. Anthony is a Tascosa High School graduate and was employed for 2 years at Whataburger, but wanted to work as a mechanic because he loves to work on cars. Anthony has barriers that he has overcome and stays positive to reach his ultimate goal. WIOA assisted him to get his foot in the door with one of our partners to learn new jobs skills that could possibly get him an entry-level position. WIOA was able to assist Anthony with placing him in a 12-week work experience with Street Toyota; which Anthony successfully completed earning an incentive of $150. Anthony was hired on at the end of the work experience in July as a Lube Technician. Anthony is promised that if he does well and able to retain employment for a year, he may be able to go to school with assistance from Street Toyota!
Persistence, Persistence, Persistence – CaydenCayden applied for Training Services assistance back in December of 2021. He was a 19-year-old single young man (who has since that time turned 20) who lived with his parents and previously worked at a lawn care business where he earned $13.00 an hour. He had completed EMT training and had been accepted into the firefighter academy, but he needed assistance paying for the firefighter training. WIOA was able to assist Cayden with tuition, fees, books, supplies, and fuel cards to help him attend the training. He graduated from the firefighter academy in May 2022 and took the firefighter and EMT state exams. But, he failed and had to retake both exams. While studying for the re-takes, he began working as a volunteer firefighter with the Randall County Volunteer Fire Department. He has now passed both the firefighter and the EMT state exams and accepted a full-time job as a firefighter with the Borger Fire Department where he will be earning $40,000 per year! He has already rented an apartment in Borger and is excited to begin working as a firefighter this month!
Never Too Old – JohnJohn came in to our offices to receive help with finding work. He came in with a smile on his face but at the same time devastated because he had just lost his job without warning. He had worked for this company for 7 years and had relocated to Amarillo from New Mexico. John was not a job hopper and was a loyal and steadfast employee. John had worked with previous companies for at least 10 to 15 years on previous jobs, was 51 years old and not at all ready for retirement because he was not one to not work. He loved working and the challenge of the job! John spoke with our Career Services department and they allowed him to vent about his termination experience. They told him that they knew he would not have an issue finding employment from seeing his character and his resume. He was then told that he would soon have the problem of picking which job that he was offered. He was not proud to apply for jobs well below his capability so that he would have employment. A week after John came in to our offices, a job posting came in to the CS department. It was a job that the minute they read the description, they knew that this was the job for John making the same amount of money if not more than his previous job. We reached out to John and explained the job description and he agreed to apply for the position. We also called the employer and left a message to them that he was the candidate they were seeking. John received a call from this company shortly after and agreed to a phone interview. He called us back about the interview and said that he was very interested and the phone interview lasted two hours because they really connected. He then had 2 other interviews. John called back soon after to let us know that he received several offers as well but decided that this job was exactly what he needed. He was very excited about his new season! When one door closes, many times it is to get us to a better season and purpose. This was such a way of seeing this as an example!
Making Her Own Way – BrandiBrandi was outreached and referred to the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program as she was enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing program at Amarillo College. Brandi was enrolled in April of 2021 and received both Supportive Services and Training Services Assistance while participating in the Dislocated Worker and National Dislocated Worker Grant programs. Brandi completed training in May of 2022 and was awarded her Associate of Applied Sciences Degree of Nursing. Brandi additionally successfully completed her NCLEX exam in June and was awarded her full RN license! Brandi is employed at BSA hospital currently utilizing her new credential!
A Second Chance – NicholasNicholas submitted an online application requesting CDL training assistance with Amarillo College. When he came into the office to meet with Career Services, Nicholas said he was currently employed with Panhandle Transportation. Prior to working at Panhandle Transportation, Nicholas had been incarcerated for several years and was looking to train as a CDL driver to have a career. Nicholas completed his CDL training and earned his CDL license. He is now employed with Core-Mark International and will be earning approximately $70,000 per year.
A Constant Improvement – BriannaBrianna was a CHOICES customer with Workforce Solutions Panhandle and obtained employment at Northwest Texas Healthcare System as a Patient Care Tech. Brianna kept her employment and earned all of her job retention incentives. She then enrolled in our Child Care Services program to assist with the cost of her child care and was accepted into the LVN Program that she applied through with the help of WIOA and enrolled in 2021. Brianna worked hard during her training and despite some struggles, she met all of her appointments with her Career Specialist. During her appointments, Brianna never missed an opportunity to tell our staff how happy she was and how well she was doing in class! Brianna remained employed throughout her training at the job she had obtained while working with our CHOICES staff. Once she graduated with her LVN, Brianna obtained employment with Amarillo Family Physicians making $21.00 per hour!
Betting on Himself – EduardoEduardo came to the Workforce Solutions Panhandle office requesting assistance with CDL training after having been furloughed from his previous employer working on wind turbines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Eduardo received assistance with a portion of his training expenses to attend the Truck Driving Academy at Amarillo College. Eduardo then successfully earned his CDL license and completed the Truck Driving Academy in May 2022. After graduation, Eduardo accepted a job offer to become a truck driver for Valley Proteins in Amarillo!
Rising When You’ve Fallen – HopeHope was laid off from her employer after almost 12 years of employment. She originally came to Workforce Solutions Panhandle asking for assistance through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for a Physical Therapist Assistant at Amarillo College. Unfortunately, Hope did not receive her acceptance letter in to the program at AC. Hope then decided she wanted to receive her Associate Degree in Business Management and graduated in June with her AAS Business Management with highest honors! If you’d like to learn more about how our WIOA department can help you get back in to today’s workforce, click here: https://wspanhandle.com/job-seekers/job-training/
Bright Minds, Bright Future – Bright Minds AcademyBright Minds Academy, a Texas Rising Star provider that went from a 2-star to a 4-star provider, received a program bonus of $2000 for achieving the higher star rating. The TRS star-rating system has to do with how well the teachers interact with the children and the program’s environment. The bonus helped them purchase tablets for all seven classrooms to use along with a subscription to Brightwheel. The Brightwheel subscription allows teachers to communicate with parents in a more effective way. The teachers can take attendance, record activities like diaper changes, naps, meals and incidents all in one place. The teachers can also text with parents to keep them involved of their child’s activities throughout the day. Bright Minds Academy is a childcare, preschool, and Spanish learning center for infants to 5-year-olds. If you’d like to learn more about the child care services that Workforce Solutions Panhandle provides, click here: https://wspanhandle.com/child-care/for-parents/
Crafting a Career Path – Vanessa L.Vanessa L., a welding student at Amarillo College, obtained her Welding Level II Certificate in April of 2022. Vanessa applied for assistance through the WIOA program to assist with the purchase of tools and supplies as required for her welding classes. WIOA assisted Vanessa with a portion of this expense as well as some training and transportation expenses for her drive to East Campus for classes. Vanessa successfully completed both fall and spring semesters of training to obtain her welding certification.
Overcoming Barriers – Carmen L.Carmen L. applied for Training Services assistance in October of 2021. She had obtained her GED, was working at Little Caesars Pizza, earning $8.50/hour, and wanted to go to Amarillo College for phlebotomy training. She was seeking WIOA assistance with the cost of the training, scrubs, and transportation assistance with fuel cards once she obtained her driver’s license. Carmen is an English language learner with her first language being Spanish. When she completed the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), which was in English, she scored low in the 3rd – 5th grade levels. We contacted the Amarillo College Phlebotomy Program Advisor, Robyn Combs. Combs said they would work with Carmen to help her succeed as long as she is trying her best. Carmen began phlebotomy training in January of 2022 while continuing to work 36 hours a week at Little Caesars. Carmen is a hard worker, very organized, and always willing to seek help when she needs it. She struggled a bit early on so she went to her instructor who helped her by allowing her to have extra time and to re-take an exam, if needed. Carmen made a B in the lecture portion of the training and moved on to the clinical portion of the training. During this time, she also obtained her driver’s license and in March of 2022, she bought a car. This was a big deal for Carmen because she had previously had to depend on family, friends, or public transportation to get to work, school and appointments at our office. In April, while still in clinicals, she went to see her advisor and obtained information about Amarillo College’s Occupational Therapy Associate Degree program. Carmen decided that she would work as a phlebotomist while continuing her education to become an occupational therapist. She also began applying for phlebotomy jobs during this time. I researched, but unfortunately occupational therapy is not on our targeted occupation list or the ETPL list, so I had to tell her that WIOA could not pay for that training. So, I encouraged Carmen to complete the FAFSA to see if she qualified for financial aid. When Carmen came in for her May 2022 appointment, she was doing well in phlebotomy training and informed us that she obtained a full-time job as a phlebotomist at BSA Hospital, where she will be earning $15.50/hour. She told us that she will begin working at BSA Hospital the week after she completed her clinicals in May and could work as a phlebotomist while studying for her state phlebotomy exam. Carmen had also received a financial aid award letter, but she didn’t understand the letter and didn’t know if it would be enough to pay for college. We had Carmen log into her Amarillo College Connect account to see how much money she received in financial aid. When we looked at her financial aid award letter, it was discovered that she had been awarded the maximum PELL grant amount in financial aid for the 2022-2023 school year. Carmen was shocked to hear this news! She thought she was going to have to save money to pay for college and that it would probably take years to save enough money. She could hardly believe that she had been awarded the money to pay for college and just needed to go register for her fall classes. While working at BSA, Carmen plans to take classes at Amarillo College in the morning while working in the afternoon. To learn more about the job training services that Workforce Solutions Panhandle has to offer, click here: https://wspanhandle.com/job-seekers/job-training/
Striving to Better One’s Self – Alexander B.Alexander B. applied for Training Services back in November of 2021 for Job Search Assistance. Alexander is an Amarillo High graduate and later attended Amarillo College for one semester to work on his basics before taking actual core classes to obtain his Associates in Welding. Because he does not have a driver’s license, Alexander depends on his grandparents to take him where he needs to go. Due to never having employment, Alexander did not have job-related knowledge and abilities needed to perform job duties effectively and did not have personal qualities to help him thrive in the workplace. Alexander has had to overcome other personal issues as well that have set him back in ways he was not able to grow as an individual. However, we are happy to say that Alexander (Xander) he would rather be called; has come a long way! He has come out of his shell and smiles profoundly! His attitude has changed tremendously. He has a new outlook on life and is willing to take it one step at a time to change what he needs to in order to make a better life for himself. Alexander will also be getting his driver’s license soon! Our WIOA department was able to assist Xander with placing him in a 12-week paid work experience at Habitat with Humanity Restore, where he has successfully completed and was hired on as a staff member! Xander has been able to obtain his well-earned incentive of $150 and wishes to return to Amarillo College in the future to work on his Associates in Welding!
Hard Work Pays Off – China AlexanderOur Career Services team first met with China in September of 2021. China was requesting WIOA assistance with the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy (PRLEA). She was employed at the time with Carson County as a Telecommunicator and Jailer, needless to say she was excited to have been accepted in to the law enforcement academy. WIOA assisted in offsetting some of China’s tuition, fees, books, supplies, and uniform costs. We are excited to announce that China completed her Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Certificate in March 2022 and was hired on with the Hutchinson County Sheriff’s Department as a Field Deputy upon graduation. China told our Career Services department that she was glad to be done with school and excited to start her new career as a Deputy! To learn more about how our Career Services department can help you find a job, click here: https://wspanhandle.com/job-seekers/
A Dream Coming True – Irene Hernandez
Irene Hernandez is a single parent who has always worked in the food industry. Irene was not able to work more than 25 hours per week due to not having the help with child care. Irene heard about the child care program and applied for assistance through her job with United Supermarket. Irene was approved for child care and was so excited to hear the good news of being eligible. She made it known to her employer of her availability being more open, so she can add more hours to her work schedule. This is an advantage for Irene for better benefits at work, a higher take home pay and being able to gain more experience. Irene was encouraged by her sister-in-law, who serves in the medical field as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. This motivated Irene to change her viewpoint to get out of the food industry and go into the medical field as well. Irene is wanting to attend school for CNA and has contacted Amarillo College to enroll in their Summer I classes in June. The child care assistance provided to Irene is allowing her the possibility of going back to school as well, a dream she has always wanted to pursue. Placing her children in daycare will help them adopt skills that will benefit them later in life. Irene knows the program will help improved employment outcomes for herself and other parents. If you’d like to learn more about Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Child Care Program, click here: https://wspanhandle.com/child-care/
The Right Opportunity – A. Wilson
A. Wilson had many personal obstacles that stood between him and his career. Despite the obstacles, he aspired to find a job he was proud of that could support him financially. Wilson did not have his High School Diploma or a stable place to call home, and his background kept him from many job opportunities. Wilson had found steady employment with a landscaping company in Amarillo. He proved to be a dependable employee, but his wages were not enough to meet his financial needs. That is when we first met Wilson. He visited our office and explained his situation. We connected him with one of our dedicated staff members, Fabian Talamante. The two worked together well. To ensure Wilson’s success, he was required to meet weekly with Fabian to search for full-time, permanent employment. Soon after meeting, Fabian arranged an opportunity for Wilson to work at a local electrician company for a short period of time with his salary being covered by Workforce Solutions Panhandle. Wilson accepted the offer. He began working for the company and had the opportunity to show his talents and skills. He quickly was offered a full-time, permanent position as an Electrician Helper. Wilson is now on the path to becoming a certified electrician. He has an apartment to call home and hopes to obtain his GED in the near future. Shortly after Wilson began his permanent job, he and Fabian shared an inspiring conversation over text. Fabian: Wilson, could you please send me your new address so we can update our records. Wilson: Yes sir you have a blessed and safe evening Fabian again from the bottom of my heart thank you for what you have done for me, it has surely without a doubt changed my life and focus. God Bless You! Fabian: No problem my brother, we all need help at times. So proud of you! Wilson: Thank you sir I love my job. No doubt, they treat me like a human being and a family member. It has been a long, long time since I felt that way for any one I worked for. No doubt, it keeps me wanting to run back to work fast 😁. Good night sir and God 🙏 Bless You!
Preparing for Success – Susana Iglesias
We first met Susana Iglesias in January of 2022. She had been looking for work since October of the prior year. Susana had experience as a dental assistant and wanted to continue doing that work. She was offered job interviews but was not getting job offers. Our team was able to help her prepare for interviews and improve her resume for future applications. Susana utilized the available resource we have to offer. She attended our workshops, received job referrals, worked with our staff on interview skills, and was able to receive support services during her job search. After only 2 weeks of job search, she was offered a job at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. The job was not in the field she was interested in but offered competitive pay. Around the same time, she interviewed with Texas Tech Health Sciences Center to work as a dental assistant again. Susana was told that the job with Texas Tech Health Science Center may take longer to obtain due to background check requirements. She weighed her options carefully. After only a few weeks of job searching, and some help with her interview skills, Susana began working as a dental assistant again by the beginning of February 2022.
P.R.E.P. Academy – Donna, Robert, Joshua, Alfred, Dearl, and Stevi
Our team is proud to be a part of the Peer Reintegration Employment Partnership (P.R.E.P. Academy). In September of 2021, The City of Amarillo, Amarillo National Bank, Hillside Christian Church, and Workforce Solutions Panhandle began working on this project. The goal was to bring meaningful assistance to homeless individuals. The P.R.E.P. Academy aimed to bring people from the Coming Home Program to work part-time with Amarillo Parks and Recreation Departments. This project kicked off in December 2021, when orientation for the participants took place. Twelve individuals who had all faced homelessness attended and enrolled in the program. Prior to employment, the participants had worked with a case manager and peer support services. These services helped secure permanent housing. We had the opportunity to cover the cost of required uniforms and wages. The City of Amarillo then brought the participants into their Parks and Recreation Department. The Parks and Recreation Department provided the leadership and on-the-job learning needed for success. In February of 2022, Donna, Robert, Joshua, Alfred, Dearl, and Stevi completed their part-time employment. Each received an offer for permanent positions with the City of Amarillo. All 6 participants accepted the offer and are currently employed.
Prime Time – Lesly Loyola
20-year-old Lesly Loyola had been working as a waitress in Amarillo. She wondered if going back to school would be the right choice. After some consideration, she decided to attend Certified Nursing Assistant Training classes at Amarillo College – but she needed help. Lesly came to our Amarillo Office in late October 2021 and spoke with Helene from our Youth Job-Training Team. CNA Classes would not begin until January 2022, so Lesly and Helene worked on a plan for the time leading up to class. Lesly was offered a 6-week Paid Internship through the Youth Job-Training. Since she was to attend classes for CNA training, she began working at Prime Medical Testing Inc., where she would gain skills that would help her in her chosen career. She also saved the money she earned to aid her while attending college. During her time at Prime Medical, she was trained to take blood pressure and other various procedures. Lesly enjoyed her new job and responsibilities. Her supervisor was very pleased with her work and determination. When the 6 weeks of her internship were up, her supervisor offered her a full-time permanent position. Lesly enjoyed the job, so she accepted the offer. Lesly now plans to attend CNA training during the evenings. Lesly’s new opportunity will continue to support her education and career aspirations. Our team is excited to provide her with the additional resources needed to help her succeed.
A Meaningful Call – David Martinez
We first met David Martinez in early 2020 when he urgently needed care for his children. David is a single father who lives in Amarillo and needed child care while at work. As a single father, he was determined to provide his children with consistent and high-quality care. Our Child Care Team was able to assist David with his child care costs. Over the last two years, the team would reach out to David to renew his assistance and get updates about his situation. We reached out again at the beginning of this year and received an unexpected response. Instead of providing us with updated information this year, David informed our team that he wanted to end his assistance. The head of our Child Care Assistance Program, Frances, received the notification and called David to ask for more information. Frances expected to hear that he was moving or that his home situation had changed. She prepared information to help him with those common situations and to verify whether or not he still needed assistance. David answered the phone. Frances explained that our child care program has ways of handling changing situations if he still needed care. David responded, “Your program helped me when I needed it most. I’m on my feet now and I want you to be able to help someone else who is in need”. Frances thanked him for his sharing his story and gave him the information he needed. Getting to hear David Martinez share his story was inspiring for our team. We are thankful to have been a part of his success. To learn more about our Child Care Assistance program please click the button below(button) Click here to learn more about child care assistance
Experience & Success – Kaden H.
In May of 2021, Kaden H. graduated from High School with his Basic Welding Certification. Kaden had worked hard during high school to obtain this certification, but after graduating he struggled to find an employer who would hire him without on-the-job experience. After learning about our services, Kaden reached out to our Youth Job-Training Team for help in late October. He met with Maddi and Tammie from our youth team. They worked with him to understand what he wanted to achieve. Kaden, like many young adults his age, wanted to begin earning enough to support himself financially. Maddi, who is familiar with the local welding industry, was able to quickly reach out to a number of companies. Midwest Machine gladly agreed to partner with us to provide a paid internship for Kaden. Tammie then worked closely with Kaden to help him arrange what he might need to begin working. On November 2, Kaden began working at Midwest Machine as a welder’s assistant. We were able to cover the cost of his wages. The paid internship allowed Kaden to earn while getting the on-the-job experience he was looking for. Kaden’s supervisor at Midwest Machine happened to be Alex Barron. Our team met Alex in 2016. Alex helped us produce an episode of Hometown Success that highlighted welding as a promising occupation. Alex took time to give Kaden useful feedback and help him improve as a welder. During this time Kaden told Tammi that he was learning more than he expected and that he enjoyed the work. On the Friday before Christmas, Kaden’s paid internship came to an end. He now had both the certification and experience employers were wanting. However, Kaden did not have to search for work very long. The following Monday, Midwest Machines offered him a permanent position on their team. To learn more about our online career videos covering everything from welding, HVAC, nursing, and more, check out Hometown Success on our YouTube Channel:
Dawn to Dusk – Luis Garcia
Luis Garcia and his family live in Hereford, Tx. In July of 2021, we first met him at our Workforce Solutions Panhandle office there. He had worked for W.W. Transport in Dawn, Tx for several years. His employer had recently offered to promote him if he would obtain a Class-A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Luis was determined to accomplish this goal to bring home more income for his family. Luis then met with Kim from our Job-Training Team to discuss how we could help him obtain his CDL License. We were able to cover the cost of his tuition, books, uniform, and transportation costs. Luis planned to drive from Hereford to Amarillo during the week to attend class from 8 am-5 pm and continue working to provide income for his family. His CDL Course began soon after their meeting. Luis drove nearly an hour to class each day. Immediately after class, he then traveled to Dawn, Tx, to work during the evenings. For eight weeks, Luis continued this very demanding schedule. In September, Luis completed his course and successfully obtained his Class-A CDL. Soon after, his employer promoted him to a Company Driver making $20 per hour as his starting wage. A few months later, in December, Luis was offered a Manager Position and another pay raise. Luis shared that his employer was impressed with his performance during the training and after being promoted. After seeing his work ethic and determination, his employer wanted to utilize him even more. Luis gladly accepted the position. We are proud to serve the entire Texas Panhandle. Many people around the area travel far and work very hard to achieve their goals. We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their success.
Success on the Horizon – Moses Pérez
We first met Moses in September of 2021. He is in his early 20s, living in Amarillo, Tx, and has been working various jobs since high school. He was ready to start a career that would financially support him. Some of his friends in the trucking industry encouraged him to obtain his Class-A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). With this in mind, he reached out and asked how we could help him achieve his goal. Moses met with Helene from our Youth Job-Training Team. She had the opportunity to sit down with him and work on a plan together. Moses wanted to enroll in the soonest available CDL course. The next available course was in Dumas, 45 miles away from his home. Moses enrolled in the program and planned to drive himself from Amarillo to Dumas. We were able to cover the cost of his tuition, books, and uniform. Helene and Moses then talked about other obstacles he might be facing. He told her, “I’m not so worried about the book tests, but I am a little worried about taking the driving tests.” Proficiently driving a 35,000 lbs. vehicle would be intimidating for anyone. But, Helene reassured him that with training, he would be successful. The CDL course was still a month away. So Helene reached out to Auto Nation Chevrolet in Amarillo and worked with them to set up a paid internship for Moses. During the weeks leading up to his class, Moses worked there as a Service Porter to help save money for his time during school. Moses cleaned and detailed cars and worked alongside the team at Auto Nation Chevrolet. His new supervisor, Terry, was impressed with his performance during the internship. Before class started in October, Terry offered Moses a part-time position at Auto Nation Chevrolet. Terry had said that Moses “…is great. We really don’t want to lose him.” Moses accepted the job offer, and Terry helped him schedule his work around school hours. While working and attending class, Moses managed his responsibilities very well. He prepared and planned for this time in school and was able to avoid any major barriers. This helped him keep his coursework as his main priority. Moses completed the 8-week course. When tested on his driving at the end, Moses received the 3rd highest score in his class and successfully obtained his Class-A CDL. Moses and Helene are now working together to find the right place to begin his career as a Professional Truck Driver. Based on his potential offers, Moses will be making a salary that supports his goals of living on his own and being financially independent. We had the opportunity to see Moses pick his goals and successfully achieve them. Now we are excited to see him take the next steps into a very successful career field.
In September of 2021, Dione C. faced a challenging path. She was looking for work after being released from incarceration. We first met Dione when she utilized our resource room to apply for work and successfully scheduled several job interviews. The job interviews were an exciting opportunity, but Dione was worried that she did not have the right clothing for an interview. She let our staff know of her situation. We were able to partner with the Downtown Women’s Center to get her the clothing she needed. Dione left our office and went straight to pick up her new clothing and prepare for the interviews she had set for the following day. In the meantime, at Dione’s request, our staff worked to enroll her with us so that further services could be provided if needed. Five days later, she was employed. Dione needed additional clothing and resources to start her new job. We were able to provide that support. Dione secured a job for herself, and she continues to remain employed at the same employer as she works to better her future.
In October of 2020, Richard M. visited Workforce Solutions Panhandle in Amarillo. He shared that he was now providing full-time care to his foster daughter. This change had come as a surprise to Richard. After visiting with staff, he was enrolled in Child Care Services and his daughter was able to receive child care at a center he had chosen. Richard recently visited the office again and excitedly shared that he was grateful for the help. He wanted to let our staff know that he successfully adopted his daughter and could not have done it without the help of Child Care Services.
Michael R. and his wife were faced with a tough decision, who could stay home to take care of their child? Both parents work in the service industry, but recent hardships had caused them to fall behind on their child care payments. The family relied on the income of both parents to meet their needs. Before making a final decision, Michael applied and qualified for childcare assistance through Service Industry Recovery Funding. He worked closely with child care staff to provide needed information and soon after applying, his application was approved. After learning this, Michael reached out to let staff know how much he appreciated this service. Both parents are now able to continue earning the income their family needs, provide their child with child care, and payoff any final outstanding child care debts.
Luis Zamora served the Hereford Community for 20 years while employed with the Hereford Police Department; however, was let go by the department in 2016. Luis had concerns about his situation and his next career move as he was an “over 50” worker. Luis visited the Workforce Solutions Panhandle office in Hereford and began working with our Job-Training Services Team. With the information he was provided, Luis decided to make a career move and he began pursuing his Class A Commercial Driver’s License. Workforce Solutions Panhandle was able to assist in paying for his DOT physical and CDL training. Because of his efforts and dedication and our assistance, Luis successfully graduated from the CDL Training – Truck Driving Academy at Amarillo College with his Class A CDL. For the last 5 years, Luis has been successfully employed with Panhandle Community Services, utilizing his license, and is now the Transit Manager. Luis visited the Workforce Solutions Panhandle Hereford office in October of 2021 to request our assistance in finding transit drivers to work for him at Panhandle Community Services. During his visit, Luis said that Job-Training through Workforce Solutions Panhandle had “Made a Huge Impact on my Life”.
John enrolled in our Job Training Services (WIOA) with the goals of completing a Registered Nurse Bridge Training at a local college and gaining self-sufficient employment. Our program covered the costs of John’s training. He successfully completed the RN Bridge training and obtained his RN license. After completing his training, he found employment as an RN. John was able to meet his goals both in his education and in employment with help from Workforce Solutions Panhandle.
Jamshid connected with our team after he had spent a period of time as a caregiver for his mother. Jamshid enrolled in our Job Training Services (WIOA) and we were able to cover the costs of a Commercial Driver’s License Training program for him. After successfully completing his CDL Training he received a job offer from an employer.
Maria is single parent of 4 children. When COVID-19 caused schools to close, Maria had to stay home to take care of her children and help them start using virtual schooling. Maria was asked to work for our School COVID-19 Sanitation project. Maria’s job is to help her local reopened school keep their campus clean and sanitized. “The opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. Especially because the hours allow me to be with my children before going to work and after getting out of work. I don’t have to worry about them being home alone.” Maria is able to work during school hours and has hope to continue working with the local ISD as new opportunities arise. “I would encourage others to take this opportunity. Thank you Workforce Solutions!” – Maria
April received TWC funding for quality initiatives and graduated with her Master’s of Science in Human Sciences “Thank you and workforce solutions again for the scholarship opportunity. Tomorrow I graduate with a Master of Science in Human Sciences and it would not have been possible without the scholarship. Thank you for all you and your team does for young children and their caregivers!”
Isabel V.When Isabel V. was laid off, she turned to Workforce Solutions Panhandle for help in finding new employment. Isabel attended several workshops that helped her develop her resume and do well in job interviews. She made sure to utilize all available resources to aid in her job search. Isabel is now employed and was thrilled to tell the Workforce Team that their efforts had helped her find employment
At age 15 Savanna helped take care of her grandma and that was when she knew she wanted to help others. Savanna challenged herself to pursue her dreams and joined a Certified Nursing Assistant class. She received her certification and in 2019 was accepted into the Licensed Vocational Nurse program.Workforce Solution’s Youth program provides financial assistance to pay for tuition, fees, and supplies such as nursing scrubs. Childcare assistance made attending school a reality and according to Savanna, the encouragement of the staff at Workforce Solutions was as important as the financial help. Savanna could not have finished without a secondary support system.
When David enrolled in our program, he received transportation assistance and was able to purchase clothing for interviews and employment. David worked diligently and now has been employed full-time since September of 2019. David’s efforts have enabled him to start saving for a car to overcome transportation barriers, pay for needed items, and he continues to maintain employment. “Thanks to the wonderful staff, never giving up on me and showing incredible kindness. I am happy and love my job. Thank you TWC.” – David W.
When we met Terry he was living and working at the Salvation Army. At that time Terry was faced with medical and transportation obstacles. Terry participated in one of our programs and is now living in his own apartment and is on track to purchase his own vehicle. When asked about our program he said, “Workforce Solutions helped me get back on track by encouraging me to set realistic goals and by achieving those goals, I have set myself up for success and created a future that I can be proud of.”