MJP is proud of our Job Partners Alumni - these folks have trained to increase their skillsets, had the courage to ask for help when they needed it, and re-trained for entirely new careers!
Your successes keep us committed to bringing our very best to the office each and every day. May these stories also serve to inspire others still in transition.
If you would like to share your story as inspiration to others experiencing a layoff, let your Career Counselor know!
Discovering Her Passion
By Tiona White
For years I was working meaningless jobs without a serious plan for my future career. Working as an Attendant for the University of Minnesota was an amazing opportunity for me. I worked with great people and had the support of a caring team. Prior to that I was a cook for various restaurants.
The University usually takes a 3-week winter break, but this year they extended it to 7-weeks due to the pandemic. Imagine 7 weeks without a paycheck! That is when I woke up and realized I did not have a career. I needed new goals, challenges, and a career with stability. This shutdown at the University really kicked everything into gear. I enrolled with Minnesota Job Partners and got to work with my counselor.
Together my counselor and I explored what I would want in my career. Something I’m both interested and passionate about. I attended several workshops to discover my career. I had never felt so secure in such an unsure time in my life. My counselor’s guidance and reassurance were everything I needed to get through this devastating time. With my newfound interest in the medical field, I worked with my counselor to determine the best place to get my feet wet. Phlebotomy – puncturing a person’s vein to withdraw blood or introduce a fluid – wasn’t something that came to me, but to my counselor. She knew me very well and suggested I might enjoy it.
With the help of Minnesota Job Partners, I received financial aid to train for my new career. I studied and made sure I understood everything I was learning during my 4-week training. I passed the exam! While I was training, my counselor helped me job search with a professional résumé. I was grateful to be in training during the 7-week shutdown, but my anxiety was a problem. I was worrying about being able to support myself in this pandemic. My counselor helped me receive rental assistance, and even helped me with my groceries. I was so stressed and feeling hopeless, but she reminded me every day why I can’t give up.
During the three months I was in the program, I completed Phlebotomy courses, got career coaching, professional résumé help, and extra assistance during the pandemic. I went from working jobs I wasn’t passionate about – earning $13 to $15.60 an hour – to having a career I’m passionate about and happy to do every day.
With my new title of Laboratory Care Technician, I’m earning $18 to $30 an hour. I feel somewhat free, inspired to complete more of my career goals. This is the beginning to a very exciting future.
My career counselor, Esther, helped me find happiness in my own life, she pushed me to explore what I really want for my life. After thinking and researching endlessly, I know my purpose is to help others. My drive to help others comes from the people close to me – my family and friends. They inspire me to become a better me every day as I find more ways to incorporate the things I care about into my career.
Creating a new brand for Black girls
Audra Robinson is an amazing entrepreneur whose success will inspire you. After losing her job as a marketing manager, she enrolled in our program and polished her digital marketing skills at St. Thomas. Then she entered the CLIMB program, which empowered her to be her own boss.
Her small business startup won the coveted Impact Award from Finnovation Lab.
Audra created “Rocky Robinson,” a brand of personal care products that foster self-worth and inspire black girls to reach their potential. Proceeds from the sale of Rocky products will send young black women to college so they can learn to manifest their own success.
Audra’s cohort at Lunar Startups is helping her launch her company. In Lunar’s words, “The thing is, you’re awesome! Your company is awesome. And we think you’re going to change not only our community but the world.”
Hans Accola is a Junior Web Application Developer at Home and Local Services. His transition from unstable jobs into a rewarding career took only 8 months.
Hans was laid off from DJO, a global provider of orthopedic devices. He had worked there for 18 months, starting in records and ending in customer service. Before that he had worked several short-term jobs in construction, retail, online currency, and other service-related positions.
After losing his job, Hans did warehouse and office work for low pay. Because he was laid off from a company that had jobs affected by overseas commerce, he was eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). He came back into the Dislocated Worker Program and together with his counselor embarked on a journey to find a career.
It is hard for a young person to build a life on unstable jobs. Hans was looking for a stable career that comes with living wages, a predictable schedule, and job security.
With guidance from his career counselor, Hans chose to pursue a career in technology. Technology workers have been in demand in Minnesota’s economy for a long time. The median hourly wage for tech occupations was $42.71 an hour in 2020. Today the field is filled with experience-based positions that pay well and require only a certification or associates degree.
Hans knew it would take education and training to prepare for a technology career.
He enrolled in Full Stack Engineering Training with Prime Digital Academy. After graduation, he began searching for junior-level IT positions.
Minnesota Job Partners helped Hans land his first tech role. Our job developer ensured his résumé would rise to the top with applicant-tracking software used by hiring managers. Since Hans chose an in-demand career, it didn’t take long for him to get hired.
The transition paid off for Hans. He got a raise with a salary that pays much more than his previous jobs. He knows this is only the beginning. He is motivated to upskill and build a lasting career with his new company.
Hans's Success: Transitioning from Job Into Career
Watch FOX-9’s profile of Audra:
Shop for “Rocky” products:
Reaching his potential through training
Steve puts his program successes best in his own words:
"I was an employee at Cambridge Metals and Plastics for 16 years before our company was purchased by an investment group. Kate Flick was chosen as my representative to assist me in setting up schooling and other tools that would be made available for the next two years.
"Kate was a great help when it came to setting up my schooling at Pine Technical College in Pine City, Minnesota. While attending school on a full-time basis, I was able to retain my unemployment benefits which allowed me to financially survive and later succeed in my classroom studies.
"My final 3.86 GPA was the result of hard work, dedication, and the encouragement by Kate and all my teachers. I am truly grateful there is a Dislocated Worker Program that helped me get over a negative time in my life and turn it into a real positive."
Becoming her own boss
Judy Praska came into the Dislocated worker program after resigning from her job as the executive director for a non-profit organization. She ventured into the franchise world and worked with a franchise broker to find the best fit.
She is now the owner of Fastest Labs of Bloomington.
Fastest Labs is a drug, alcohol and DNA testing company.
"The easiest way to explain our company is that we have
three buckets/areas we service:
Business - we do pre-employment, random, post-accident and breath alcohol.
Personal - we can test for drugs in your child and spouse, make sure you are going to pass your pre-employment, paternity, infidelity and detect unknown substances
Healthy Lifestyle - we have three tests:
Healthy Weight - Tells you how you should eat, how you should exercise, and what nutrients your body needs based on your DNA.
Food & Pet Sensitivity - Tells you what foods and/or pets you are “sensitive to” (not allergic) again based on your DNA.
Skincare - Comprehensive analysis of the genetic markers that influence skin’s potential.
"A big thanks to [my Career Counselor] Robby Sanders who has been amazing on her follow-up."
On-the-job training into her new career
Sharon was in long term employment with Integrated Health Care. When she came into the program, she was very nervous because she had not interviewed for a job in a long time. We worked on her interviewing skills and she gained more confidence in her ability to be herself and showcase her many talents. Sharon worked with our job developer, Christine Chelstrom to assist in networking and getting her resume a second look. With help from our team she was able to utilize our On-The-Job-Training subsidy to help her pivot as an administrative professional.
Her employer had this to say: “Sharon started working on the training and qualification files for the workers a couple weeks ago and really has learned a lot. She’s just a wonderful addition to our group. I can’t say enough about how much she fits in here.”
Sharon’s words: “Thank you for all your help and the OJT program that helped my new employer out too! I'm glad they are happy with my work as I am very happy working for them as well!”
Landing her dream job during COVID-19
Heidi had always dreamed of becoming an epidemiologist. Last week her dream came true.
Heidi began a new job with the Minnesota Department of Health, where she uses real-time hospital data to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the drug overdose epidemic. She’s working from home while saving lives.
Heidi credits her success to our Dislocated Worker Program and her tireless career counselor, Kate Flick. After two months of professional training at New Horizons Computer Learning Center, Heidi rose to the top of the candidate pool. Her new credentials got the hiring manager’s attention and coaching helped her nail the interview.
Losing a job is painful. But Heidi's story is proof that with dreams and determination, job seekers can transition to a new and rewarding career. Heidi did, and you can, too.