Graduating from College
Hi, my name is Ralph. I would like to tell you about my story. I had worked at a steel mill for 13 years when we received word that the mill would be closing permanently. We would receive severance and be shown the door in June 2020. Announcement of the closure happened the same month that COVID-19 hit. So here I was, a 40-year-old with a family to support. I never went to college and was facing unemployment with no clue where to go. Scary to say the least, right?
As time was nearing the end at the steel mill, I kept hearing people talking about Minnesota Job Partners. But I had no idea what their Dislocated Worker Program could do for me. I went to the HR department and was told that Minnesota Job Partners could help me find a new job. They could even help with training, so I signed up and was told they would contact me shortly.
Little did I know that signing up with Minnesota Job Partners was going to change my life in the best way possible and change my family’s life forever! They teamed me up with my Career Counselor, Kate Flick. I feel it’s rare in life to find people who make you feel like you’re cared for and that they have your back no matter what happens in life. Kate is one of those people! From day one I felt like she was on my team, and she was in my corner to help me navigate this rough patch.
Kate asked questions about me, and together we decided the best option was to go to trade school for two years and become an electrician. I have always been passionate about tinkering and working with my hands and this seemed to be a great fit. Without Kate and Minnesota Job Partners this would have never happened. With all the support they offer this was the only way I would ever get a chance to go to school to better myself and my family’s future. Being the first in my family to attend college was huge for me. Being in school for the first time in 20+ years was tough, but Kate and my family were there to reassure me and keep me going.
It’s almost three years since the steel mill closed, and I am the first in my family to graduate from college. Not only did I graduate, but I graduated with honors and was first in my class with a 3.95 final GPA and an A in every class! I was recruited straight out of college and have happily been working for a month now at a large local window manufacturer. This is my dream job as I get to tinker and work with robots all day long! This is the place I was meant to be in life, using my hands and my brain. learning and growing in all aspects of life. I see myself retiring from this company. Never have I felt more alive and excited with life than I am now. Today I value college and the importance of working towards a goal. I’m passing that knowledge on to my kids.
My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner. I have already sent friends and family to Minnesota Job Partners. Their work is very important to people’s lives, and I am thankful every day for Kate! If you are going through job loss, I beg you to check them out and see how they can help you find a career you love.