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Linda Anderson's Story
Linda Anderson arrived at the Winona WorkForce Center in August of 2009, when she was invited to attend a group orientation for the Dislocated Worker Program.
She had been laid off from her position as an order processor at an electronics company, where she worked for almost three years. Realizing that she needed computer training in order to be competitive, Linda began attending a series of six Microsoft Word and Excel computer training classes at Minnesota State College Southeast Technical. Despite her new skills, however, she still struggled to find employment in the tough job market.
With the help of career counseling, Linda decided to pursue a career in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant. She excelled in the training and actually received and accepted a job offer with Winona Health before completing the course. After passing the test on the first attempt, Linda began her new career as a CNA, earning more money than she did in her previous job.
She credits the her counselor and the Winona WorkForce Center for helping her achieve her goals.
My experiences with the WorkForce Center have been nothing short of super, she says. You personally always made me feel that I could do more for myself. You encouraged me to go the extra step, and go back to school, learn new things, and always hope for the best.
You and the center were my salvation. Without you, I would not be where I am now: Gainfully employed, in a great job that I love, and doing something that is rewarding to me. I am happy, and feel productive again. I thank you, and the Center for that. I am eternally grateful.
David Lhotka's Story
In August 2009, David Lhotka was laid off from his position as an infrastructure consultant for Warner Connect, Inc., an IT company located in Fridley.
He sought help from the WIA Dislocated Work Program at the Anoka County Job Training Center in Blaine.
David attended an orientation class and then was assigned to work with vocational counselor Amy Lord. Amy recommended some free training classes on job search, resume writing, and how to stay motivated during the job search -- which I took, says David. These classes helped me a lot and got me interviewing with companies much more quickly.
Amy checked in regularly with David and made recommendations about self-marketing and making his job search more productive.
During his time being unemployed, David was able to find short term contract positions with IT agencies which helped him get through the difficult period. David then began working full time at Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis on a long-term contract position as a Desktop Support Consultant.
I have a lot of responsibility and enjoy what I am doing, he says. I am also making 8.3 percent more in wages now than when I first was laid off.
David attributes his quickness in finding a job in a down economy to the networking opportunities and counseling he received from the Dislocated Worker Program.
I believe the friendship and mentoring of Amy Lord and the learning I gained from the Dislocated Worker Program has impacted my life in a very positive way, he says. It kept me with a positive attitude, which made my wife and family feel better through my unemployment. I feel very fortunate that (this opportunity) was made available to me.