Success Stories

Region VII WDB 2016 - 2017 Success Stories

“My name is Ronnie Faircloth and I am 45 years old, happily married and father of 2. I am a Dislocated Worker and I first heard about WIOA when I was doing a job search at WorkForce WV. I was then referred to the WIOA Career Coach Angel Velasquez, who was kind enough to explain to me the process. Unfortunately, I did not graduate high school and in order to receive the funding I was required to have a Diploma or GED. So, I was then referred to the Berkeley County Adult Learning Center. The help I got at the ABE Center was more than what I expected, the tutoring was one-on-one and I never felt alone. After several weeks of class and hard work I successfully passed the TASC Test and was awarded my Diploma.

After that, WIOA did not waste any time in getting me into the CDL Preparation Program at All State Career. By then unfortunately, I was not receiving any unemployment, so I requested assistance for my transportation expenses and once again WIOA stepped up to the plate.

I am scheduled to complete the CDL Program and obtain my Class A License on May 2017. I have no doubt I will be able to obtain a job right after I complete my training. Not only has WIOA been there for me since the beginning, but also has given me all the necessary assistance to build a solid resume and exceptional interview skills.

I will always be thankful to the WIOA staff for helping people like me to better ourselves and for always going above and beyond to help the community.”

Mr. Roy initially contacted the WIOA office in late March 2016 after being laid off by a local manufacturer.  At the time of his dislocation, he was making $10.68 an hour.  Mr. Roy was interested in training, specifically in getting his Class A CDL license, as he felt that was the best and quickest route to reemployment at a livable wage.  He began the application process in mid-April, but faced delays due to the lack of availability of training locally.  Ultimately, he selected an alternate training provider and started classes at Garrett College in June 2016.  He officially completed training on August 11, 2016, however, he had already secured employment effective August 10 at a concrete company based in Virginia. He was hired as a full time driver with a starting wage of $17.00 an hour.  Mr. Roy recently realized his goal of finding work closer to home and is currently employed at Mountain State Concrete.

Nena Wheeler lost her job in January 2016.   When she was unable to secure employment despite several months of effort, she contacted the WIOA office.  Ms. Wheeler felt that training in a medical field would enhance her employability, but knew that she was not interested in direct patient care.   After much discussion with her career coach and independent research, she decided upon Pharmacy Technician training at Eastern WV Community and Technical College.   She completed training on December 14, 2016.  While her ITA and Supportive Services (travel stipend) were funded through the SP-NDWG program, regular Dislocated Worker funds paid the fees for her certification exam, which she took and passed on January 5, 2017.  Nena Wheeler is currently employed in the pharmacy at the Moorefield CVS store.

“My name is Theodore Dickerson.  I am a 27 year old husband and a father of five. I came to the Martinsburg One-Stop Career Center looking for financial assistance to pursue a new career as a Truck Driver. After attending the orientation I decided to continue with the process and enrolled in the CDL Program at All State Career in Kearneysville.

I completed the program and successfully obtained my Class “A” CDL. I am currently working for LANE Construction and thanks to the workshop I attended as part of the WIOA Process I was able to prepare a well-written resume and be confident during my job interviews. Not only have I become financially stable, but I now feel like I can provide for my wife and kids. I had a wonderful experience at All State and I also got to meet people like me who have benefited from the WIOA Services.

I will always be immensely thankful to Mr. Michael Ratliff and my Career Coach Angel Velasquez for all the help and support throughout my training. Thanks to the WIOA program for helping me get back on my feet and for making these services available to people like me.”

“My name is Tracey Lynch and I am 46 years old. Recently, my life has been a struggle, having to ask my children for means to provide for myself on a daily-basis.

I was introduced to WIOA through Google looking for some kind of funding to get my life back on track. I qualified for the WIOA program and decided to go to James Rumsey Technical School. I attended school for 10 weeks and graduated as a Class “A” Commercial Driver, and it was an amazing experience. WIOA not only paid for my tuition but granted me Supportive Services so I could cover my transportation costs and also helped me pay for my CDL Passenger Endorsements.

Now my life is getting brighter as I am getting closer to employment. I am currently in training to become a bus driver for Berkeley County Schools. I am so thankful for my Career Coach, Angel Velasquez, for helping me through my struggle.”

Danny Haggerty was employed part time by the WV Department of Tourism as a Courtesy Patrol Driver when he came to the WIOA offices seeking assistance with training.  He was in the midst of a mid-life career change, having previously worked as a supervisor in a poultry processing plant.  Mr. Haggerty felt that having a Class A CDL license would enhance his employment opportunities in the local area and would also afford him the best opportunity for attaining and ultimately surpassing his former earnings.  He selected Eastern WV Community and Technical College as his training provider and started classes on February 13, 2017.  Although Mr. Haggerty was not successful on his first licensing attempt, he persevered and received his Class A CDL license on April 10, 2017.  He was subsequently hired as a feed truck driver by a local poultry company.

In the midst of her job search Jessica Knill-Lopez was presented with the opportunity to interview for a position with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Eastern Panhandle (EP). The interview was coordinated through the WIOA Office and Vicki Barnard; Executive Director of CASA-EP. Ms. Barnard was confident in the services of the WDB office due to her previous hiring experience with us. Looking for a career change, Jessica was inspired by the work done by CASA-EP and was hired after the interview. CASA of the Eastern Panhandle serves the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Berkeley Jefferson and Morgan Counties. When asked about her experience with WIOA/WDB and her experience, Jessica responded,

“If it was not for the WIOA office I would have never known about the job opening at CASA-EP and the great work that they do, I am humbled by the opportunity to do such amazing work. I look forward to many years of work with CASA and serving the abused and neglected children of our area. It was a great experience working with the WIOA staff and I thank them for helping me through the process and allowing me this incredible opportunity.”

“I found myself in a position of trying to re-enter the workforce after the company I worked eleven years for closed in Martinsburg. WorkForce WV gave me the opportunity to receive training in Marketing and Society for Human Resource Management and use those new skills in my position with Choice Staffing, Inc. After meeting with Amy Hunt and David Wiley, I knew I had found the right fit for me to learn and grow in my new career. I couldn’t be more pleased with my experience and am grateful for the Region VII WDB On-the-Job Training Program. I love what I do and look forward to many years of work. I am excited to be part of a growing local business.”

While working as a temporary employee for WorkForce WV, Tom Kimm was presented with the opportunity to interview for a full time position with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Eastern Panhandle (EP). The interview was coordinated through the WDB Office and Vicki Barnard, Executive Director of CASA-EP. Ms. Barnard has utilized the WIOA OJT services in the past and has had excellent results. Tom was inspired by the work done by CASA-EP and was hired after the second interview. Tom is now the Volunteer Coordinator and using his skills and work experience to help abused and neglected children of the Eastern Panhandle.

When asked about his experience with WIOA/WDB, Tom responded, “I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. While in a temporary program at Work Force WV I met with WDB staff and was made aware of the opportunity at CASA-EP. I am grateful to work for such an amazing organization, and to assist in the important work that they do. I look forward to many years of work with CASA and serving the abused and neglected children of our area. I had a great experience working with the WDB staff and I thank them for helping me through the hiring process and allowing me this incredible opportunity.”

Brittany was a 20-year-old, high school dropout when she visited the WIOA Case Management Office in Martinsburg.  She informed the Youth Case Manager she wanted to find employment, but first needed to obtain her TASC. She asked what services the program could provide in helping her obtain her goals.  She was then registered with the WIOA Youth Program on September 11, 2012. The program was able to provide her a travel stipend to attend TASC classes in Berkeley County.  By late September 2014, Brittany had successfully completed her TASC, and she began looking for employment.   The WIOA Youth Program was able to set up a paid work experience at Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation for Brittany. Brittany was able to use her references from the paid work experience to secure a job working at Outback Steakhouse. Brittany’s future plans include pursuing a career in the medical field.

Deionte was a 23-year-old, high school dropout when he visited the WIOA Case Management Office in Martinsburg.  He informed our Youth Case Manager that he would like to obtain his TASC, so that he could become more employable.   He asked what services the program could provide in helping him obtain this goal.  He was then registered with the WIOA Youth Program on January 25, 2017.  The program was able to provide him a travel stipend to attend TASC classes in Berkeley County.  By early February 2017, Deionte had successfully obtained his TASC, and he began looking for employment.  Currently, Deionte is working at Quad Graphics and hoping to finish a book he is writing.

Shelby was a 19-year-old, single mother and high school dropout when she visited the WIOA Case Management Office in Martinsburg.  She informed our Youth Case Manager that she would like to obtain her TASC, so that she could become more employable.   Shelby inquired about WIOA Youth Services and asked how our program could assist her in obtaining her TASC and employment goals.  She was then registered with the WIOA Youth Program on September 23, 2015.  The program was able to provide her a travel stipend to attend TASC classes in Jefferson County.  By early October 2015, she had successfully obtained her TASC, and she began looking for employment.  Shelby was able to secure employment with American Public University Systems where she is currently employed.

Dylan, a 17 – year – old high school dropout, was referred to WIOA Youth Services by the Hardy County Adult Education Program instructor.

Dylan was enrolled in our program on May 18, 2016 and earned his high school equivalency diploma on March 24, 2017. He has remained employed throughout his enrollment.

Dylan had this to say about our program:

“The program helped me with gas money and I could still keep my job.”

Mary, a 19-year-old high school dropout, was referred to WIOA Youth Services by the Mineral County Adult Education Program instructor.

Mary was enrolled in our program on January 13, 2016 and earned her high school equivalency diploma on April 12, 2016. She was employed by Domino’s Pizza in Keyser, WV.

Mary had this to say about our program:

“The gas stipend really helped. But the checks for getting my diploma and going to work were really nice!”

Region VII WDB Past Success Stories

Angela Portillo traveled to Haiti with a team of healthcare professionals to assist earthquake survivors. Ms. Portillo, a registered nurse, is a former recipient of WIA services and training programs. Ms. Portillo received her Associate of Science in Nursing degree from Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in 2007.

In spring of 2014, a number of service members attached to the 167th Air National Guard in Martinsburg, WV learned that they were going to lose their jobs as aircraft mechanics due to the decommissioning of the plane they worked on. A plan was developed to assist these individuals in transitioning into civilian careers in the aviation industry. Because Pierpont Community and Technical College had already developed a curriculum for aircraft mechanics, they would take the lead in providing the training, which would be offered on site at the Base. The impacted service members had received layoff notices and, because of this, met the criteria for dislocated workers and were eligible for WIA services, including training services. The 167th Air National Guard allowed WIA staff to come on base and conduct orientation sessions and assessments. Twenty individuals received orientation to WIA services and assessments. Three were referred to their states of residence to receive services. Eight individuals completed the WIA application process. Two were able to secure employment prior to the class start date. Six individuals were enrolled in the five week class, Airframe and Powerplant Training for Aircraft Maintenance Technician Certification. Five of those completed the course: Preston Bowers, John Breitenbach, Christopher McCormick, Michael Showe, Jr. and Larry Southard . These individuals will receive certifications which will qualify them for high-paying jobs in the aviation industry.

Jessica Snyder is registered in the WIA Adult Program. She is a single mother who also happens to be an Army veteran. Her duties in the military included maintaining clinical records so enrolling in the Medical Clinical Assistant program at Valley College seemed like a great fit.  Not only did the program offer a smooth transition from her military life into civilian life, it also allowed her to find a great job in a field that would allow her to work hours conducive to being a single parent.

While attending Valley College, Jessica was offered an internship at City Pediatrics. City was so impressed with her skills and love of children that they offered her full-time employment upon completion of the program. Jessica continues to thrive.

Bernadette Hall is registered in the WIA Adult Program. She was an in-home healthcare aid for years but had to work evenings part-time to supplement her income.  Nursing seemed a natural transition for her. Bernadette completed Valley College’s CNA Program and was offered a great job in the Case Management Department at Valley Health Systems and couldn’t be happier.

Regina Schan is registered in the Dislocated Worker Program. Regina is a single mother that struggled to put four children through college working as a CNA. That is quite an accomplishment but she wasn’t finished yet. Regina decided that it was her turn.  She finished the LPN Program at James Rumsey and is now working with EastRidge Health Systems. After only a few months, she was promoted to Supervisor and was able to purchase her very first NEW CAR!

Destinee Easterday is registered in the WIA/Adult Program. Being young and unsure of her future, Destinee attended Valley College’s CNA Program. She accepted a job at Willowtree Nursing Home upon completion. Being a CNA has inspired Destinee to further her career. She is currently enrolled in the two year RN Program at BRCTC.

Steven Stinchcomb is registered in the Dislocated Worker Program.  Steven spent several years working different positions in warehouses. After he got laid off, he decided that being a truck driver was the best option for him. He attended the CDL Program at James Rumsey and is currently a OTR Trucker for D.M. Bowman.

Jason is a 2002 graduate of Jefferson High School. He was laid off from his job due to lack of work. During this time his family had grown with the birth of twins and he was in need of a stable career. Mr. Cook enrolled in class at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in April of 2014. Once his training was completed, Jason passed his exam and obtained his class A CDL license. He was hired by the West Virginia Department of Highways and is enjoying being home every evening with his family.

Courtney was a 17-year-old, single mother and high school dropout when she visited the WIA Case Management Office in Martinsburg. She informed our Youth Case Manager that she would like to obtain her GED, so that she could become more employable. She asked what services the program could provide in helping her obtain this goal. She was then registered with the WIA Youth Program in May of 2013. The program was able to provide her a travel stipend to attend GED classes in Jefferson County. By late December, Courtney had successfully obtained her GED and began looking for employment. The WIA Youth Program was able to set up a paid work experience at Econo Lodge in Harpers Ferry for Courtney to work until she was able to find full time employment. Currently Courtney is working at Wal-Mart in Charles Town as a cashier.

Yussef was an 18-year-old, unemployed high school dropout when he visited the WIA Case Management Office in Martinsburg. He informed our Youth Case Manager that he would like to obtain his GED, so that he could become more employable. He asked what services the program could provide in helping him obtain this goal. He was then registered with the WIA Youth Program in August of 2013. The program was able to provide him a travel stipend to attend GED classes in Berkeley County. By early October, Yussef had successfully obtained his GED and began looking for employment. Currently, Yussef is working at Macy’s Distribution Center in Martinsburg.

Joshua Whetzel, a 17-year-old Senior at Moorefield High School, enrolled into the youth program in May 2014.  Josh started receiving summer employment opportunities with the Hardy County Board of Education in June 2014 and plans to return during summer 2015.

Following graduation from Moorefield High School in May 2015, Josh will be attending Potomac State College majoring in engineering.  In addition to the youth summer employment program, Josh works at Hawse Shop-N-Save and takes college-bound courses through Eastern WV Community & Technical College.

“This is a great program for the youth in order to make money and also make a great impact on the community.”

Andrea Whetzel is a single mother who relocated to Martinsburg from Petersburg in 2015. She had been working at McDonald’s but was looking for more opportunity and a better future for her and her children.  Andrea visited the admissions department at Valley College and was very interested in their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program but she couldn’t afford the tuition and fees.  Valley referred her to WIOA and she was able to get the CNA certification she had desperately wanted.  Laura is now employed at Clary Grove Nursing Home.

Celia was a 16-year-old, single mother and high school dropout when she visited the WIOA Case Management Office in Martinsburg.  She informed our Youth Case Manager that she would like to obtain her high school equivalency diploma (HSED), so that she could become more employable.   She asked what services the program could provide in helping her obtain this goal.  She was then registered with the WIOA Youth Program on January 22, 2014.  The program was able to provide her a travel stipend to attend adult education classes in Berkeley County.  By early January 2015, Celia had successfully obtained her HSED, and she began looking for a college to attend.  The WIOA Youth Program was able to set up a paid work experience at Illusions Hair Salon in Inwood for Celia to work until she was able to start college.  Currently, Celia is attending Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.

Jeff Lone was under-employed and seeking full-time work when he was referred by WV job service staff for an OJT at Judy’s Drug Store.  He was placed in August 2015 and while working at Judy’s also attended a Pharmacy Technician training program at Eastern WV CTC as part of his training plan.  He successfully completed both his OJT placement and his studies at Eastern and was picked up as a permanent employee in December 2015.  In March 2016, Jeff passed the National Healthcareer Association exam and is now a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Roy Burch received WIA training services. He obtained a Class A Commercial Driver’s License from Road Pro Commercial Truck Training, Inc. He is currently employed with the Family Dollar Distribution Center located in Front Royal, VA. Finally, I am very appreciative of the opportunity that this program has provided me with. I will be forever grateful as I embark upon my future endeavors.

Alton Schwartzbeck, or Lee as he prefers to be called, came to us for help after moving back to his home town of Mathias. He had previously worked in manufacturing after serving in the US Army, but was laid off after many years with the same company. He struggled to find work simply because he didn’t know where to look.

Peacock Manufacturing, in Wardensville, was looking to hire individuals with Lee’s background and work ethic. We referred him for an interview and they offered him a position the following day. Lee is currently doing very well as a Machine Setter, has received certifications as a Forklift Operator, and is a certified OSHA Safety Representative for the Company.

Cheryl Mills is registered in the Dislocated Worker Program. Cheryl was a paralegal for several years but was unexpectedly laid off.  Having the desire to help people, Cheryl decided on a different career path. She attended the LPN Program at James Rumsey and upon completion, attained full-time employment at Willow Tree Nursing Home.

Caitlyn Harmison is registered in the WIA Adult Program. Caitlyn worked in the food service/hospitality industry, but as a single mother, found that minimum wage would not allow her to raise her daughter without a struggle. Believing that a career in nursing could provide a better life, she enrolled in the LPN Program at James Rumsey. She is currently working for the Department of Prisons and has just enrolled in the two year RN Nursing Program at BRCTC.

Van Heslop is registered in the Dislocated Worker Program. Van was an in-home healthcare provider and a youth pastor. He was laid off from his youth pastor position so decided to use his experience in healthcare to further his career. He completed the CNA program at Valley College and accepted a position at Willow Tree Nursing Home. He loves his job and has even been named Employee of the Month THREE times!!!

Steven Hopkins is registered in the Dislocated Worker Program. He began the LPN Program at BRCTC several years ago but dropped out due to the stresses of life. He found work as a deli manager but always wanted to finish school. He decided it was time when he got laid off.  Steven finished the LPN Program at James Rumsey as their Valedictorian. He works at Willow Tree Nursing Home as a Shift Supervisor.

Amanda Miller is registered in the WIA Adult Program. Amanda received her radiology degree from Mountain State University but was unable to find employment in that field. When she lost a low wage job, she decided to try something new. She attended the CNA Program at Valley College and is now working in a field that she loves at Shenandoah Nursing Home.

Candace Lewis is a 2007 graduate of Keyser High School. She came to WIA in need of assistance with her LPN training at Mineral County Technical Center. With tuition assistance and supportive services, Candace was able to drop one of her two jobs and focus more on her career and training. Ms. Lewis successfully completed her training, passed her West Virginia state board exam and obtained
her LPN license.

Anthony was a 21-year-old, unemployed high school dropout when he visited the WIA Case Management Office in Martinsburg. He informed the Youth Case Manager that he wanted to attend college, but first needed to obtain his GED. He asked what services the program could provide in helping him obtain this goal. He was then registered with the WIA Youth Program in May 2013. The program was able to provide him a travel stipend to attend GED classes in Berkeley County. By late May of 2014, Anthony had successfully obtained his GED and began looking at colleges to attend. He decided to enroll at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College for the Fall Semester of 2014 and study Computer Programing. Anthony is also working at Domino’s Pizza in Inwood. The WIA Youth Program was able to set up a paid work experience at Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation for Anthony allowing him to work when he was not in class. His future plans are to become a Computer Programmer.

Cheyenne Lender, a 17-year-old Senior at Moorefield High School, enrolled into the youth program in September 2014.

As a student in the Cooperative Education program at the South Branch Career and Technical Center, the youth employment program allowed Cheyenne to fulfill her work hour commitment at the Hardy County Health and Wellness Center.  The program’s flexible hours were beneficial to Cheyenne as she is actively involved in several sports programs at MHS including volleyball and softball.

Cheyenne will be enlisted in the National Guard in April 2015. She will be a 2015 graduate of Moorefield High School, and plans to enroll at West Virginia University in January 2016.

“I am a student-athlete so finding a job that would work with my availability is hard. I am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to work through your program.”

Michael Grapes, a 2014 Graduate of Pendleton County High School, was enrolled into the youth program in April of 2014. Michael participated in the paid work experience program under the supervision of the Pendleton County Board of Education.

Michael is currently employed by Allegheny Wood products where he works stack-off and is cross-trained as a fork lift operator.

“The [youth] program has done a lot of great things for me and has really opened up my eyes for the future. It also taught me that hard works pays off in high school; I worked hard to graduate and now being out of high school and working a full time job. My hard work has given me my own house along with many other great achievements.”

Anna Harmon was laid off after five years at Hollywood Casinos in 2015. While she enjoyed the customer interaction part of her previous job, she was really interested in bookkeeping and accounting.  Anna was referred to the WIOA office by WorkForce WV after filing her unemployment claim.  She met with a Career Coach and it was decided that she would be a perfect candidate for OJT.  She was interviewed and placed with Johnson & Johnson HVAC.  She completed the QuickBooks certification program at BlueRidge CTC and is now in charge of billing for the company.

Hunter Largent is a single parent with a history of seasonal work.  He was looking for steady, permanent employment after his most recent layoff in August 2015.  When his job search proved unsuccessful, Hunter approached the WIOA office for assistance with training.  He felt that getting his CDLs would provide him with better employment opportunities.  Hunter completed training at Eastern WV CTC on the last day of 2015 and received his Class A CDL license the same day.  He is currently employed by Hartman’s Express, a local trucking company based in Mathias, WV, and is very pleased with his new career and increase in earnings.

Michelle, mother of three, enrolled into the youth program as a 24-year-old, tenth grade dropout. She was enrolled in the Grant County Adult Education Program and received her high school equivalency diploma on September 25, 2015.  Since enrolling in the program, Michelle also began working full-time at the Potomac Highlands Guild.

Michelle has this to say about our program:

First, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. If it wasn’t for all of the support I received, I may not be where I am now. This program really helped me by assisting me with childcare and supported me while I was taking classes to finish my education. After I got my HSE, the program helped me find the right kind of career opportunities that is suitable for me. The people with the program were very helpful and did their best to answer all the questions that I had. They really care for the people they are helping and try to make everyone the best they can be. Thanks to that I am now working a great job that I love and am able to support my family.”