By Fong Vang
It's been a little over a year since I was laid off. I worked at a steel mill, where I thought I would stay for a while because the job paid a decent living wage. But we experienced a mass layoff due to lack of demand for steel. I was unsure about what my future would look like. Sure, I was going to receive some financial help through unemployment benefits and severance pay. But "What’s next?” I thought to myself. One door closed, quite literally, and another door opened. Shortly after, I was introduced to my career counselor, Kate Flick.
She has been superb in our journey to redefine my future career. She helped me find what I was passionate about and re-sparked my interest in continuing my education. After going through a few workshops, she suggested I enroll in the University of Minnesota's Coding Bootcamp. I took the full-time course and after three months, I received my Full-Stack Web Development certificate. During the next few months, I started applying for jobs in my new IT career field. Kate helped me polish my LinkedIn profile and Christine Chelstrom helped me polish my résumé. They connected me with some important people, who helped me land my next job. I will be paid to take a nine-week B2E (Barriers to Entry) Tech Training course with York Solutions. Then I’ll be working for their clients under a one-year contract with the option to stay longer if I choose. This is the perfect opportunity to get my feet in the door while creating experience and continually improving my IT skills. I am happy and grateful to these wonderful individuals who got me to where I need to be. Most importantly, I want to give a huge thanks to Minnesota Job Partners and the Dislocated Worker Program for helping people in need, such as myself. Without that help, I might still be working at another dead-end job. Thank you for putting your trust in me!