From Oregon Office
Gabrielle M. -- Adult - Rochelle
- Successfully completed the Radiologic Technology program through Kishwaukee College
- Passed State boards
- Employed at Kishwaukee Hospital as a Rad Tech earning $28.00/hour
Jeff H. -- DW - Byron
- Successfully completed an OJT at Blount/Woods
- Continues working at Blount/Woods as a machine operator earning $16.00/hour
Robyn S. -- DW - Dixon
- Successfully completed an AAS degree in Accounting through Sauk Valley Community College and a WE at Twin Cities Pads
- Employed as an Accounting Clerk at Roger Colmark CPA earning $12.00/hour
Jeff O. -- DW - Byron
- Successfully completed CNC training at Rock Valley College
- Employed as a fabricator at Aero Plastics earning $17.00/hour
From Sterling Office
In October of 2014, 112 employees at Robershaw heard life changing news. The company was closing. Robertshaw which is located in Hanover Illinois was the largest employer in that town of 844 people and they were shutting their doors. Patrick had worked at Robertshaw for 32 years. He had started working for them in 1983 right out of high school and had worked up to a Maintenance Technician position. He was one of the very last employees to leave the plant on 9/25/2015. At 50 years old he had children, was married, had a house and a life well established and now he needed to go out and find a job.
Thankfully, the employees were eligible for the benefits allowed under the federal trade act. This would give Patrick the opportunity to go to school to increase his skill level and obtain a degree. Patrick knew that a degree would help him with his work search. Patrick met with the career advisor to talk about different programs offered at the area colleges as he would like something that would dovetail with his prior work experience and the two welding classes he had taken in the 1980’s. He knew that he was going to be competing for jobs with people who had a degree where he had none. Patrick was encouraged to look at a program that Eastern Iowa Community College in Clinton Iowa offered. They had an Engineering Technology Associates Degree program where you could choose to specialize in Automation, Electromechanical or Process Control. This program in addition to his background in hydraulics, trouble shooting, mechanical maintenance, and supervisory skills would make him appealing to employers.
Engineering Technology at EICC was made possible through funding from a Pathways to Engineering Technology Grant which is 100% financed through a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Patrick went to the school and visited the facility. When he came back he knew that they had what he was searching for.
Patrick started classes in January of 2016. In May of that year he was awarded a Basic Electricity Certificate on the way to successfully completing his Associates Degree with Honors in Engineering Technology on December 20 of 2017. Patrick’s gpa was a 3.969. He was also awarded a Basic Electronics certificate. Prior to the end of his training Patrick and his wife decided that they would like to eventually relocate to an area closer to Dubuque Iowa and he concentrated his work search in that area.
Patrick received several offers of employment within a short time of starting his search and actually just started working for Bimbo Bakeries out of Dubuque on December 28th only to have a much better offer of employment come in with Non-metallic Components Inc. out of Cuba City Wisconsin which is 15 miles east of Dubuque Iowa. They are a custom thermoplastic injection molding company which offered Patrick a job he could not pass up. Patrick is now an Engineering Technician. This is a salaried position where he has insurance, 3 times the vacation other employers were offering and a salary of over $50,000.
From Oglesby Office
On March 5, 2015 a fire broke out at M&M News Agency. Lisa, a Circulation Manager soon found out that the Agency would not be reopening. After 21 years of service, she was quite uncertain what her future would hold. She is a mother to 3 children and knew they could not survive on her unemployment benefits and her husband’s income. She immediately started job searching but was unsuccessful in finding full-time employment.
In June 2015, she stopped in BEST, Inc.’s Illinois Valley Community College office to inquire about services available for dislocated workers. Since Lisa was frustrated at the lack of job opportunities, she considered retraining. She had attended IVCC years ago and had completed six courses. She knew if she returned to school, sacrifices would have to be made by her as well as her family.
August 2015, Lisa started her journey of returning to IVCC many years later, now as an older student and a mother of 3 children, ready to pursue an Associates Degree in Accounting and there was no turning back. She loved her accounting courses and she excelled. It did not go unnoticed. The beginning of Fall 2016 semester her accounting teachers encouraged her to work part-time in the Learning Commons as a tutor. It was a win, win decision, she loved accounting and she could earn extra money.
Lisa needed to complete an internship for her degree and with perfect timing for Spring 2017 semester she started at Abacus Accounting in Spring Valley, assisting with income tax preparation. BEST, Inc. was able to recognize the internship as a work experience so Lisa was paid an hourly wage while completing a curriculum requirement.
After successfully completing her final semester, Lisa graduated in May 2017 with an Associates in Accounting with honors, Cum Laude, while also earning the Accounting and Advanced Accounting Certifications with honors.
After graduation, Lisa found a full-time job at a local bank but continued to job search for more of an accounting position. Well her persistence paid off, she is currently working at Eakas in the accounts receivable department and loves it. Also since the start of tax season for 2018, she is back working nights and weekends at Abacus Accounting.
Lisa has expressed a deep gratitude…stating, “without your agency, I would have never had the opportunity to go back to school and graduate with my Associates in Accounting. Thank you, thank you.”