Workforce Learning Link Success Stories
The Workforce Learning Link lab at the Bergen One-Stop Career Center plays a vital role for adult learners who need to upgrade basic skills in reading, writing, and math. Each year, hundreds of students attend class to advance their proficiency or to earn a HSE. Here are several truly inspiring stories of recent participants in the “Learning Link.” This could be your story too.
Ms. G. is in her early 40s, a single parent and homemaker with six children. When she came to Link in August of 2010, her reading, language arts, and math skills tested very low. Her goal was to pass the HSE exam and enroll in home health aide training. Ms. G. worked hard at her studies and in December 2010, passed the HSE exam. Ms. G’s skills were retested in February 2011, and her results increased enough that she was now eligible to enter training. Career guidance helped Ms. G. understand that her interests were more closely aligned with becoming a medical assistant than a home health aide. She has since graduated from a medical assistant training program offered by the HoHoKus School/RETS in Nutley and started her new position in April 2012.
Mr. C. is in his late 50s. He enrolled in the Link in May 2010 with a score of 7 in reading, 7.4 in math, and 5 in language arts. When asked why he wanted a HSE he said: “Betting my HSE will bring me self-respect.” The first time he took the HSE exam he did not receive a score in the writing section. He took the HSE exam five times in all before passing the writing section. In May 2011, he passed the math section, and in June passed the essay portion of the HSE. According to his mentors, “His drive and desire to obtain his HSE never faltered.” Mr C. is currently enrolled in the Bergen County Technical Schools’ Plumbing and Heating Program. He looking forward to graduation and is now researching job opportunities in his new field.
Mr G. is a 64-year-old veteran. He was accepted in the Link in September 2011 with reservation because his reading and math skills tested at the fifth-grade level. Mr. G. demonstrated his determination by attending classes every day. When he retested in January, his reading level had increased to 9.1, and he achieved a score of 8.4 in math. He is now hoping to begin classes at Atlantic County Community College. We have no doubt he’ll succeed.
Ms. CM is a 25-year-old single parent who entered the Link in December 2011 with an eighth-grade reading level. To enroll in Bergen Community College’s Patient Care Tech program, she needed to upgrade her reading skills. By January 2012, she had already attained her goal.
Ms. M is a 63-year-old woman who doesn’t speak English fluently. She wanted to enter a Link training program, but her reading score was only 6. She enrolled in the Link in October of 2011 and upgraded her reading score to 8.6. This allowed her to move on from the Link, and now Ms. M is awaiting a grant for further training.
“I want to thank everybody at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for their hard work and dedication to New Jersey’s unemployed. If not for the compassion and understanding of your staff, my time on unemployment would have been personally devastating to me. The services offered, including job training, education grants, resume writing, and job postings, were invaluable tools that allowed me to land a job and return to the workforce. Please know how fortunate I feel to live in a state that cares so much for the plight of their unemployed residents in these overwhelmingly difficult times. Thank You.”
–Diana B., Bogota, NJ
“My name is Anna Grasso and I have received funding from the Trade Readjustment Act (TRA) for almost two years. I am proud to say my journey in the program is almost over. I’m writing this letter because I would like you to know what being on TRA has done for me and my children. If I didn’t have these services, I truly don’t know where we would be today. Because of the Workforce Learning Link program, I have been able to accomplish so much in my life. Here are a few examples: I received my HSE, went to school to learn how to become a medical assistant and finished in December. I was able to get my driver’s permit, and now I am in the process of preparing for my license. I have secured a job and am waiting to start working as a Medical Assistant. Most importantly, I was able to walk away with my self-respect and confidence. I now believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to complete. If someone asked me today, ‘What do you think about the system?’ my response would have to be, ‘They saved my life and my children’s.’ I am a better person today because of them, and I can now be a productive citizen in this world.”
For me, it was a long year of searching and searching to no avail. I registered with many agencies. I searched the Internet. I attended job fairs. I contacted many different industries, such as, Toy R Us, Symrise, Valley Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Bank of New York, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porcelanosa, to name a few. As you can see, I was not shy in my search, but all my efforts seemed to be going into a black hole. However, through your commitment and dedication these last four months, I was able to find a job. You never give up. Your motivation in helping others is outstanding.