From Retirement to Renewal: Overcoming Barriers with Workforce Solutions
September 18, 2023
Wallace’s journey with Workforce Solutions Panhandle is evidence of the valuable support and resources available to job seekers in the Texas Panhandle community. When he first walked into our Amarillo office, he was at a crossroads in life. Despite having retired from three different companies, Wallace was still searching for purpose. His part-time job wasn’t fulfilling his aspirations, and he knew he needed a change.
Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s dedicated team paired Wallace with a Workforce Development Specialist. Over several months, they collaborated on improving his resume, identifying job leads, and even reaching out to potential employers on his behalf. Their shared goal was clear: to help Wallace secure meaningful employment.
One significant hurdle Wallace faced, he felt, was his age; he was 75 years old. However, his energy and determination surpassed that of many individuals half his age. The staff at Workforce Solutions Panhandle saw his potential and remained committed to finding him the right opportunity.
An exciting opportunity came when Cacique Foods, a new dairy processing facility, announced a job fair. This state-of-the-art facility had brought over 200 new job openings to Amarillo, and the Workforce Solutions Panhandle team saw it as a perfect fit for Wallace.
The staff member went above and beyond, personally contacting Cacique Foods to secure an interview for Wallace. The appointment was set for 9 am, but Wallace’s eagerness drove him to arrive at 8 am. His enthusiasm and qualifications impressed the employer so much that they offered him the job on the spot.
Just one week after celebrating his 76th birthday, Wallace started working at Cacique Foods, embarking on a new chapter in his life. He is now in the midst of his fourth retirement, working hard, and enjoying the satisfaction of meaningful employment.
Wallace’s success story stands as proof of the transformative impact that Workforce Solutions Panhandle can have on the lives of job seekers, regardless of their age. Through their dedication, resources, and support, individuals like Wallace can find purpose, defy stereotypes, and achieve their career aspirations.
Dakota’s Journey: From Intern to Apprentice – A Workforce Success Story
September 11, 2023
Dakota, a determined Texas Panhandle resident aged 18-24, found himself at a crossroads in his life. He aspired for a stable career that would offer room for growth and advancement, but he also knew he wanted to avoid the fast-food industry. Seeking a way to achieve his goals, he turned to the Workforce Solutions Panhandle Young Adult Training Services Department for assistance.
Dakota’s journey began when he applied for Job Training Services. Recognizing his potential, he was connected with a case manager who guided him through the available opportunities. Together, they explored the option of a paid Work Experience, highlighting the numerous benefits such internships could offer to young adults in the Texas Panhandle.
Dakota was soon placed at Plaincello Heating & Air Conditioning Repair and Installation for a 12-week work experience, where he took on the role of an HVAC Duct Service Technician. During this time, he gained valuable knowledge about air ducts and duct systems, as well as essential safety protocols. However, the internship offered more than just technical skills; Dakota honed his communication abilities and developed outstanding customer service skills.
With dedication and hard work, Dakota successfully completed his Work Experience in July. His exceptional performance did not go unnoticed. He was offered a permanent, full-time position as an apprentice at the company, earning a competitive starting wage of $14.00 per hour, which he wholeheartedly accepted. His supervisor at Plaincello, Inc. commended him, stating, “Dakota is a very good worker. He shows up on time and he does not stand around – he always finds something to do and keeps busy.”
Dakota’s story exemplifies the incredible opportunities that paid internships can provide to young adults in the Texas Panhandle. These internships not only equip participants with valuable skills and knowledge but also open doors to meaningful, stable careers.
If you are a young adult aged 18-24 seeking similar success, you can follow in Dakota’s footsteps. The Youth Connections Team can assist other motivated individuals, like Dakota, with services such as:
- GED or High School Equivalency Preparation
- Post-Secondary Education Services
- Paid and unpaid work experience including employment and an apprenticeship program
- Occupational skills training
- Leadership Development
- Financial literacy
- Supportive Services
- Career awareness, Career counseling, career exploration, etc.
Don’t miss the chance to explore your potential and build a brighter future. Contact the Youth Connections Team today, and let them assist you on your path to success. Your journey could lead to a fulfilling and prosperous career that you’ve been dreaming of.
Rebuilding Lives: Jillian’s Success Story with Workforce Solutions Panhandle‘s Borger Office
September 8, 2023
In May 2023, Jillian’s world was turned upside down when she was unexpectedly discharged from her job after dedicating five years of service to her position. This sudden upheaval left her utterly devastated and unsure how to navigate the uncertain road ahead. Adding to the complexity of her situation, she is the primary caretaker for her child with special needs, making her pursuit for new employment even more critical. She not only required employment for financial stability; it had to encompass the essential benefits and a consistent schedule necessary for her to be present for her child on the weekends.
Amid the emotional and financial turmoil caused by her job loss, Jillian took proactive steps to regain control over her life. She applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and was subsequently directed to attend a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) orientation at Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Borger office.
The compassionate staff at the Borger office extended a lifeline to Jillian, providing several job referrals through WorkInTexas.com, one of which would prove to be her saving grace. This referral led her to a position with a State agency that not only aligned perfectly with her scheduling needs but also provided the crucial benefits she sought for her family’s well-being.
As Jillian prepared to embark on this new chapter, she faced a new challenge – her wardrobe. Her previous job had adhered to a more relaxed dress code, leaving her without the appropriate business attire required for her new role. Fortunately, once she had fulfilled the requirements of the RESEA program, the dedicated team at Workforce Solutions directed her to their own Job Training Services program. Upon establishing her eligibility, Training Services stepped in to offer invaluable support in acquiring the necessary work-related clothing.
Within just one week of starting her new job, the Training Services team facilitated the purchase of three professional outfits and a pair of dress shoes, empowering Jillian with the confidence she needed to step into her new role with poise and assertion.
Jillian’s journey from job loss to reemployment and empowerment is a testament to the invaluable support and resources available through Workforce Solutions Panhandle. Her determination, combined with the compassionate guidance of Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Borger office staff, led her to a job that not only met her scheduling needs but also provided essential benefits for her family.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to Jillian’s, facing unemployment and the need for appropriate clothing or tools to secure a job, we urge you to reach out to Workforce Solutions Panhandle. Their dedicated team is ready to assist you on your path to success, just as they did for Jillian.
Remember, your journey may have its challenges, but with the right support, determination, and access to resources, you can overcome any obstacle and find the stability and fulfillment you seek. Contact Workforce Solutions Panhandle today and take the first step toward a brighter future.
Bernice’s Journey: Building a Brighter Future with Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s TANF Program
September 5, 2023
In July of 2023, a determined and resilient individual named Bernice embarked on a transformative journey with the support of Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T). Her story stands as a testament to the profound impact of this initiative, offering a ray of hope and opportunity to Texas Panhandle residents grappling with unique challenges.
Bernice confronted a significant barrier on her path to self-sufficiency—a language barrier. Her command of English was limited, creating obstacles in effective communication and hindering her access to better job prospects. Recognizing her need for assistance, she enrolled in the SNAP E&T program, facilitated by Workforce Solutions Panhandle.
Under the program’s guidance and unwavering support, Bernice’s journey began to take shape. She was referred to Amarillo College (AC) for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Here, she honed her listening, speaking, writing, reading, and pronunciation skills. These ESL classes provided her with the fundamental language abilities necessary to break down her communication barriers.
With each dedicated week of ESL classes, Bernice’s progress became evident. Her commitment to learning and enhancing her English language proficiency was unwavering. Day by day, she grew increasingly confident, not only within her workplace but also as a member of her community. Her newfound fluency in English empowered her to communicate effectively, forging deeper connections with her colleagues and neighbors.
Bernice’s journey transcended the realm of language improvement. She secured employment as a cook at Townplace Suites, a testament to her dedication to personal growth and financial independence. Her income enabled her to embark on diligent savings, driven by a clear goal—to achieve homeownership.
But her aspirations didn’t end there. Bernice expressed her intention to obtain her General Education Development (GED) certificate upon completing all her ESL levels. Her unwavering determination to continue her education underscored her commitment to personal growth and empowerment.
Bernice’s story is a testament to the holistic support and opportunities offered by Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s SNAP E&T Program. It extends a lifeline to individuals like Bernice, confronting unique challenges on their path to self-sufficiency. By addressing language barriers, facilitating access to education, and bolstering career development, the program empowers individuals to overcome obstacles and realize their aspirations.
To discover more about Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s SNAP E&T Program and how it can transform lives, you can reach out to a Career Specialist at (806) 345-1343. If eligibility aligns, they can guide you through the process and enroll you in the next orientation class, setting you on the path to a brighter future.
From Struggle to Success: Rory’s Journey of Resilience
August 30, 2023
From the first time Rory came to Workforce Solutions Panhandle for his initial appointment with a Choices Program Career Specialist, he displayed initiative and a genuine desire to regain stability in his life. He had previously found success with the program last year, successfully completing his 60-day job retention period in 2022.
However, when he re-entered the program in July 2023, he shared that during the winter, he had faced eviction from his landlord due to an unexpected increase in rent, which he couldn’t afford. This unfortunate turn of events led to him losing his job and experiencing a period of relapse.
Shortly before rejoining the program, Rory found support for an addiction and began prioritizing his sobriety. His sponsor suggested that he adopt a pet to aid in his recovery journey. At the time he re-entered the program, he and his dog were predominantly living in his truck, occasionally renting a motel room when he secured work through temporary employment agencies.
Once Rory recommenced the program, he wasted no time. During his job search activities, Workforce Solutions Panhandle staff provided assistance by offering gas cards to facilitate his job applications and attendance at interviews. By late July, he had accepted a job offer from PeopleReady, ensuring full-time employment, albeit without a permanent position. Only this month, he received an offer for full-time, permanent employment with a local landscaping company.
Shortly after beginning his new job, one of his supervisors, who also owned rental properties, expressed a willingness to work with Rory to find him a place to live. Workforce Solutions career specialists stepped in to cover the first month’s rent for August while Rory worked with the landlord to secure the necessary security and pet deposits. Our staff continued to provide him with gas cards to ensure he could reliably commute to work without having to rely on his bicycle or walking.
At the end of August, approximately one month into his Job Retention period, Rory met with his Career Specialist to report that he and his dog were settling into their new home. He had been consistently working full-time, sometimes even with overtime hours, since starting his job. He successfully managed to cover the required deposits and was thrilled to know that his beloved pet was enjoying the comfort of air conditioning while he was at work. Rory confided in his career specialist that his cherished pet played a significant role in his sobriety, and being able to provide her with a comfortable home motivated him to keep moving forward.
If you would like to know more about Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s SNAP Employment and Training Program, call (806) 345-1343 to speak with a Career Specialist. If we determine you are eligible to participate, we can get you signed up for the next orientation class.
Empowered by Opportunity: Lilian’s Transformation with Young Adult Training Services
August 30, 2023
In December 2022, a determined young woman named Lilian approached Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Young Adult Job Training Services with a dream. She was a single mother, living with her parents, and working in a low-income job. However, Lilian had a burning ambition – she aspired to become a Phlebotomist, with hopes of eventually achieving her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.
Lilian’s journey began with a simple application for assistance. She needed help covering the costs of her Phlebotomy training. Her circumstances were challenging, but her determination was unwavering. Young Adult Job Training Services recognized her potential and was quick to step in.
The program provided Lilian with the support she needed to pursue her dream. They covered the costs of her tuition, books, scrubs, shoes, and even offered fuel cards to ease her transportation worries. With this crucial support, Lilian embarked on her Phlebotomy training journey.
By March 2023, Lilian had completed her Phlebotomy training, showcasing her dedication and determination. In April 2023, she passed her board exams with flying colors, and in May 2023, she secured a job as a Phlebotomist at BSA Health System. This new position paid $5 more per hour than the job she had when she first sought assistance.
Initially, Lilian had contemplated taking a break from her educational pursuits. But reality set in when she encountered the soaring prices of apartments suitable for her and her two children. With a clear goal in mind, she decided to explore the path to earning her Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN), a significant step toward her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.
To her delight, Lilian discovered that she had already completed the prerequisite classes for the ADN program during her previous college stint. This meant that she only needed to complete Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and pass the HESI exam to qualify for the ADN program.
Young Adult Training Services continued to support her journey by assisting with the costs of her CNA training, scheduled to begin in August. Lilian was also diligently preparing for the HESI exam, with hopes of gaining admission to the ADN program in January 2024.
Lilian’s story is a testament to the life-changing impact of the Young Adult Job Training Services Program at Workforce Solutions Panhandle. It provides workforce paid education and employment services to young adults facing significant barriers to self-sufficiency and success. This program offers a lifeline to individuals like Lilian, equipping them with essential skills and support to break free from the constraints of their circumstances and pursue their dreams.
For young adults aged 18-24, like Lilian, who are experiencing barriers to employment or training such as high school dropout, homelessness, parenting, or involvement in the justice system, the Young Adult Job Training Services Program offers a comprehensive array of services, including counseling, career planning, occupational skills training, and much more.
Lilian’s journey demonstrates that with determination, hard work, and the support of programs like Young Adult Training Services, young adults can overcome adversity and chart a path toward a brighter future. Her story serves as an inspiration and a call to action for other young adults facing similar challenges. With the right support and a strong drive to succeed, they too can follow in Lilian’s footsteps and realize their dreams of a brighter tomorrow.
Alice’s Triumph: A Journey from Homelessness to Empowerment with Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Choices Program
August 29, 2023
In the heart of the Texas Panhandle, amidst the challenges of homelessness and a deep desire for self-improvement, Alice’s story shines as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the transformative power of Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Choices Program.
Alice’s journey is far from ordinary. Living in a tent with her three loyal canine companions, she faced adversity that would have discouraged many. However, her determination to build a brighter future for herself led her to the doors of Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s Choices Program.
Alice’s days are a testament to her unwavering commitment to self-improvement. Each morning, she attends GED classes at Amarillo College, knowing that education was her path to a better life. In the evenings, she works diligently at Wal-Mart, stocking shelves and earning a living to support herself and her beloved dogs.
But the most extraordinary aspect of Alice’s journey is her resilience in the face of a significant challenge. Alice struggled with reading, a hurdle that had cost her jobs in the past. Despite this, she refused to let her difficulties define her future.
To navigate her daily life, Alice ingeniously combines the use of the city bus with her trusty bicycle, ensuring she could commute between work and school efficiently. Workforce Solutions Panhandle recognized her dedication and stepped in to provide essential support. They assisted Alice with work clothing and shoes, ensuring she has the attire needed for her job at Wal-Mart.
Alice’s success story exemplifies the vital role of the Choices Program offered by Workforce Solutions Panhandle. Choices supports applicants, recipients, and former recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance in their transition from welfare to work. It offers a lifeline to those seeking employment or aiming to secure better job opportunities.
Career specialists from the Choices Program worked closely with Alice to develop a customized plan that catered to her unique needs and challenges. They assessed her educational strengths and vocational aptitudes, helping her set clear goals for her future. With their unwavering support, Alice not only secured employment but also gained the confidence to strive for a brighter tomorrow.
Work-based activities, such as job search assistance, job readiness seminars, and educational programs, have been instrumental in Alice’s journey. These activities equip her with essential skills, including resume preparation and financial literacy, making her a stronger candidate in the job market.
Furthermore, the Choices Program provide critical support services like childcare assistance, transportation assistance, and help with work-related expenses. These services ensured that people in need are able to focus on their education and career without being held back by logistical challenges.
Alice’s journey from homelessness to empowerment serves as an inspiring example for others facing similar obstacles. Her story reminds us that with determination, the right support system, and access to programs like Choices, individuals can overcome adversity and pave their way to a brighter, more self-sufficient future.
For those in need, the Choices Program at Workforce Solutions Panhandle offers a lifeline to transform their lives. It’s a testament to the power of resilience and the unwavering commitment of individuals like Alice to create a better future for themselves and their communities.
Teacher Summer Externships
41 teachers from across the Panhandle signed up this year for “Teacher Summer Externships.” Teacher Summer Externships consist of teachers working at a local employer that closely matches the field of study they teach to their students. This is a collaboration among Workforce Solutions Panhandle, Region 16, and the Panhandle Community Partnership.
In order to complete the externship, the teachers worked at least 24 to 32 hours with their employer during the summer and developed a lesson plan for the upcoming school year. One of the biggest goals of the externship is for teachers to learn what these employers are hiring for and what it takes to run a successful business. The teachers then take what they’ve learned and teach it to their students.
To reward their efforts, the teachers were paid $1,000 for completing the externship! Some of the employers that participated this year include TxDOT, Sage Oil Vac, Texas Department of Agriculture, BSA, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, Potter County Sheriff’s Office, United Supermarkets, and many more! We look forward to having this again next year!
Amanda’s Success Story: Overcoming Challenges with Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s SNAP Program
In early May 2023, Amanda reached out to Workforce Solutions Panhandle, seeking assistance in her quest for employment. Having previously received support from workforce services in 2021, Amanda knew that our dedicated team could provide the guidance and resources she needed to overcome her recent challenges in finding and maintaining a job.
Amanda’s journey began with enrollment in the SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Program, a lifeline that would prove to be instrumental in her success. With her determination to build a brighter future, and the unwavering support of our team, Amanda embarked on a transformative path towards meaningful employment.
One of the first steps we taken was to assist Amanda in honing her job-seeking skills. We provided her with essential tools to prepare for job interviews, enhancing her confidence and competence in the competitive job market. Simultaneously, we guided her through the process of registering on WorkInTexas.com, a vital resource for connecting job seekers with potential employers.
Workforce Solution Panhandle staff leveraged our extensive network to refer Amanda to prospective employers, matching her skills and aspirations with job opportunities. Within a remarkably short span of just one week, Amanda received a job offer from Torchy’s Tacos. Her commitment and our collaborative efforts had paid off, marking the beginning of her promising career journey.
However, our commitment to Amanda’s success extended beyond just finding her a job. We recognized the practical challenges she faced, including the need for appropriate work attire and transportation. In response, we stepped in to provide her with essential work clothing, ensuring that she could make a positive impression in her new role. Additionally, we furnished her with fuel cards, easing the financial burden of commuting to her workplace, and further reinforcing her ability to maintain stable employment.
Amanda’s gratitude for the assistance she received from the SNAP Workforce Solutions program is heartwarming and a testament to the program’s impact on her life. In her own words, she acknowledges, “The SNAP Workforce Solutions program has helped me in so many ways. Having people there in my corner has been such a blessing.” Amanda’s story is a poignant reminder of the transformational power of support and guidance.
For those who may find themselves in a situation similar to Amanda’s, seeking assistance through the SNAP Workforce Solutions program is a straightforward and empowering choice. By reaching out, individuals can access a wealth of resources, expert guidance, and unwavering support on their journey towards finding and maintaining employment. Just as Amanda’s life took a positive turn, so too can countless others benefit from the caring and effective assistance provided by Workforce Solutions Panhandle’s SNAP Program.
Amanda’s success story serves as an inspiring example of how resilience, determination, and the right support system can pave the way for a brighter future. Workforce Solutions Panhandle is dedicated to helping individuals like Amanda achieve their employment goals and lead more successful lives.
Going for It – Zayde
Zayde applied for Training Services’ assistance in August 2021, requesting assistance with the cost of aviation training at Amarillo College because he did not qualify for financial aid. His dream was to complete aviation training and get a job with Bell Helicopter.
Training Services was able to assist Zayde with the cost of tuition, and fees, books, uniforms, tools, and fuel cards to help him attend aviation training at Amarillo College. He earned an aircraft certificate from Amarillo College in August 2022, and was on schedule to earn a powerplant certificate from Amarillo College in May 2023 so that he could obtain his Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) License.
However, he failed one class in the Spring 2023 semester and was not going to be able to repeat that class until the Spring 2024 semester. But, Zayde did not give up and he applied for a job with Bell Helicopter and got the job!
He will begin working with Bell Helicopter in July 2023, and Bell Helicopter may pay for his final class as well as the testing fees for his A&P License. He is excited to begin his new job, and his hourly rate will be almost three times what he was earning when he applied for assistance from Training Services.
Family First – Aaliyah
We first met Aaliyah in December 2022 when she was approved for TANF benefits. We began assisting Aaliyah with services to help her locate employment. She was able to find a job at the end of December; however, it didn’t work out.
She got a job offer in mid-January and worked at that location for 3 months. She had to leave that job due to family issues but was hired on at Amazon in April 2023. This job has worked out very well; including a family-friendly work schedule. Her mom is able to help her with childcare.
“The workforce center has benefitted me and my family in so many ways. I am so grateful for giving me new opportunities and a new path in life. Thank you very much for the work y’all have done,” said Aaliyah.
Overcoming Obstacles: Walter Adams’ Inspiring Path to Success
Walter Adams, a name synonymous with determination and success, embarked on his remarkable journey towards a brighter future at the tender age of 12. He confronted a challenging period marked by encounters with law enforcement and a battle with drug-related issues, which, in his own words, persisted for “a while.” However, in 2014, Walter Adams decided to seize control of his destiny and transform his life.
“In 2014, I decided to take control of my life. I obtained my GED and enrolled in Amarillo College, where I discovered a new program called the ‘Clinical Medical Assistant’ (CMA),” Walter Adams recounted.
However, realizing his dream of participating in the CMA program required financial support, and Walter Adams’ journey took an unexpected turn when he briefly relocated to Missouri due to personal matters.
“While I was there, I managed to obtain my GED. But when I returned, I was confronted with exorbitant out-of-state tuition fees, despite being a Texas native. Workforce Solutions Panhandle stepped in to provide crucial financial assistance,” Walter Adams explained.
Walter Adams’ unwavering determination and commitment fueled his successful completion of the CMA program, ultimately leading to his certification as a Registered Nurse (RN). He emphasized that the Training Services program at Workforce Solutions Panhandle not only alleviated his financial burdens but also equipped him with essential skills and a robust foundation for his subsequent RN program.
“The CMA program, supported by Workforce Solutions, was instrumental in my success. It not only helped me financially but also prepared me for the rigorous RN program. Without it, I might have struggled to keep up, and my chances of failing would have been high. It provided a solid foundation, and I am deeply grateful for that,” Walter Adams reflected.
Today, Walter Adams’ life stands as a testament to his incredible journey. In addition to being happily married and a proud father, he has embraced the role of a Nurse Education Success Coach at Amarillo College. He has become an advocate for student success and retention, presenting strategies to enhance proactive outreach and engagement with success networks, particularly success coaches.
Walter Adams earned his Associate Degree in Nursing from Amarillo College in 2018, swiftly becoming a Registered Nurse. Furthermore, in addition to his role as a Nursing Success Coach at Amarillo College, he has ventured into entrepreneurship. Walter Adams owns Golden Facilitation Cleaning Services, specializing in House cleaning, Commercial, and Post Construction cleaning.
Walter Adams’ story serves as a compelling reminder of the transformative power of determination, education, and the support of dedicated programs and organizations like Workforce Solutions Panhandle. His journey is a shining example of how individuals can overcome adversity and forge a path to extraordinary success.
To learn more about our Training Services department and what they can do for you, click here
Overcoming a Bump in the Road – Kailey
Kailey joined the WIOA program in September 2021 as a single parent with one child receiving SNAP benefits. Kailey’s goal was to become a registered nurse. Kailey successfully completed all of her nursing classes at Amarillo College until her final semester in the Associate Degree Nursing program in Spring of 2022 in which she failed one class.
At that time, Amarillo College determined that Kailey would be required to step down to the LVN program in Fall of 2022, successfully complete 8 credit hours and successfully pass her NCLEX-PN before she would be allowed to return to the ADN program in Spring 2023 to retake the one class she failed in Spring 2022.
Although Kailey was upset at the prospect of having to step down to the LVN program for failing one class in her final semester, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Kailey had since had another child and was struggling to make ends meet each month.
She successfully completed the 8 hours in Fall 2022 and passed the NCLEX-PN. Kailey began employment with the VA PRN and returned to Amarillo College in Spring 2023 to complete the ADN program.
Kailey is still employed PRN at the VA and just completed the ADN program at Amarillo College in May 2023. She is scheduled to take her NCLEX-RN in June 2023 and will move in to a full-time RN position with the VA after she receives her RN license.
Panhandle Career Signing Days
Throughout April and May of 2023, Workforce Solutions Panhandle hosted five “Panhandle Career Signing Days” in Stinnett, River Road, Dumas, Hereford, and Amarillo. These “Signing Days” recognized dozens of graduating Career and Technical Education students as they made a commitment to either further their CTE education or go right into work in their respected field.
The Education Credit Union Foundation was a big part of this effort as they donated $5,000 in scholarship money to these student(s). This money will aid these students going forward in their educational and occupational journey.
Representatives from Amarillo College, West Texas A&M, Frank Phillips College, WyoTech, Universal Technical Institute, Tulsa Welding School, United States Air Force were just some of the schools and institutions that attended to show their appreciation as well.
We look forward to hosting these events again next year with even more schools and students right here in the Texas Panhandle!
Words of Encouragement – Toni
The director of Amarillo College’s Respiratory Care program reached out to one of our staff asking us to contact Toni to see if Training Services would be able to assist her in completing her Respiratory Care Program since she was struggling so much financially. When Toni came to see the staff member, she kept telling her it would be okay if we couldn’t help her since she had been turned down for almost everything.
After completing her application and assessment, we were able to enroll her and assist with one month of rent to offset the cost of what she had spent out of pocket for the semester as her spouse was not working due to a medical condition. Toni continued to work PT and tutor her fellow students while taking care of her husband, managing her clinical rotation and still maintaining a 4.0 GPA in her Respiratory courses.
Toni will walk for her AAS in Respiratory Care in May and will officially graduate in August 2023 but has already decided to take a job with BSA once she graduates. Toni will be receiving an Honors Awards next week due to high grades and the fact she has helped and encouraged her fellow students.
Improving Himself – Angel
Angel began participation in a Workforce program on 08/25/2023 with a goal of finding full-time permanent employment. During Angel’s first appointment, no barriers were immediately identified however, prior to being enrolled into our Workforce program, Angel’s work history revealed that he had previously been employed at jobs that paid higher wages.
However, due to leaving his prior employer, there was a period of time when Angel became under-employed which resulted in him falling behind in his monthly expenses which led him to being referred to Workforce Solutions to assist him in finding better employment. After Angel began his program participation, he quickly found and accepted a full-time position with the City of Amarillo as a Mechanic Apprentice and began working on 09/19/2022. In order for Angel to be able to accept this position and be successful, it was required for him to have some of his own tools for the mechanic work.
Due to Angel not having any income for a period of time, he couldn’t afford to purchase these tools on his own. Workforce Solutions was able to assist customer with the tools that he needed to begin his employment. In addition to purchasing the required tools that customer needed, Workforce Solutions was also able to provide him with transportation assistance to help him get to and from work until he started receiving regular pay.
Angel’s employment was tracked for a six-month period and he was provided $600 in employment retention incentives for successfully retaining his employment with the City of Amarillo. Angel has been able to continue his employment and is now able to meet his financial obligations.
Conquering Obstacles – Adam
Adam came into the office to begin participation in a Workforce program back in August of 2022 and it was determined at that time that he had several significant barriers to employment. Adam did not have a driver’s license or transportation to get to and from work. Adam also struggled with maintaining stable, long term employment going back to 2019.
In addition to these barriers, Adam also disclosed that he had background issues that could affect him in being able to obtain employment. With all these barriers to employment, Adam’s Career Specialist initially began assisting him in finding employment opportunities near his home due to his lack of transportation. Adam’s Career Specialist also provided weekly job leads for employers who would offer employment to applicants with background issues.
Soon after becoming enrolled in the program, Adam was able to secure employment through Select Staff however, he was unable to accept the position due to the job having a requirement that he could not fulfill. Adam then became employed at Conner’s Industries, located in Borger, as a Journeyman 2 earning $20.00 per hour. Adam was able to accept this position due to the company being one that travels throughout the state and provides transportation for their employees providing them a daily per diem for meals and lodging.
While participating in the program, Adam successfully earned three employment retention incentives totaling $500.00. After enrolling in the Workforce Program, even with his significant barriers to employment, this customer was able to obtain full-time, permanent employment earning self sufficient wages.
Adam is on his way to overcoming his employment barriers and is now able to provide for his family!
No Hesitation – Julia
After being referred by Training Services to the SNAP E&T Program, Julia attended the orientation. She was released from prison the month before and was needing employment as quickly as possible. Julia was living with friends, but wanted to get out on her own.
We helped her purchase interview clothing since she had nothing appropriate and with transportation assistance for her job search. We assisted her with her WIT registration and gave her several job referrals. Six days later, she called and reported that she had a job offer and would start her employment the next day.
Julia’s first employer did not schedule her enough work hours, and she kept looking for better employment. She was contacted by an employer through Facebook and was offered a job with that business. She is now working full-time!
Making an Impression – Lyaing
Lyaing applied for Training Services’ assistance with the cost of CNA training in December 2022. Her goal was to complete her CNA training and complete the ADN program at Amarillo College so that she can one day work as a registered nurse. She was also interested in a paid work experience so she could gain experience working in the medical field.
Training Services was able to assist Lyaing with the cost of CNA training, which began in January 2023, as well as a paid work experience at a home health agency which also began in January of 2023. The paid work experience is the first job that Lyaing has ever had so she was a bit nervous.
However, Lyaing’s supervisor has raved about what a wonderful employee she is and finds it hard to believe that this is Lyaing’s first job. Lyaing completed the CNA training at Amarillo College in March 2023 and is currently studying for her CNA state exam. In addition, she is taking the last of the required prerequisite classes for the ADN program at Amarillo College.
Also, the home health agency where she is participating in a paid work experience has offered her a job as a CNA with a pay raise, and they hope to keep her as an employee for many years to come.
Trusting the Process – Hayden
Hayden 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 – Brenda
Brenda 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 – Zeinab
Zeinab 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
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.
Shining a Light – Christopher
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 – Paulino
Paulino 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 – Abagail
Abagail 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! – Beverly
Beverly 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 – Ketzally
Ketzally 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 – Megan
Megan 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 – Kylee
Kylee 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 – Anthony
Anthony 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 – Cayden
Cayden 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 – John
John 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 – Brandi
Brandi 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 – Nicholas
Nicholas 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 – Brianna
Brianna 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 – Eduardo
Eduardo 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 – Hope
Hope 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 Academy
Bright 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 A.
Our 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/