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
The Right Opportunity – A. Wilson
Preparing for Success – Susana Iglesias
P.R.E.P. Academy – Donna, Robert, Joshua, Alfred, Dearl, and Stevi
Prime Time – Lesly Loyola
A Meaningful Call – David Martinez
Experience & Success – Kaden H.
Dawn to Dusk – Luis Garcia
Success on the Horizon – Moses Pérez
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.”