On this page you will find testimonials from customers of the Workforce Development Center who have taken advantage of one of the many programs offered at the WDC. You can also watch the video prepared for the Tenth Anniversary celebration of the WDC for other testimonials.
- Steve Villalobos, WIA Program
Two years ago, I lost my job of twelve years because the business closed. It was a time that I was unsure of what would happen next for me and my family. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts area, but I did not have any formal education. With the help of the WIA program, I was able to fill this gap in my education. I attended Gateway Technical College for the next two years receiving my Culinary Arts degree in December of 2011. The door is now wide open for me. I am working at Gateway in the Culinary arts program with new opportunities every day. I am also employed by the new Texas Roadhouse opening in Racine. The knowledge that I gained attending college thanks to Racine County Workforce Development has proven to be the key to my future opportunities. I am truly grateful for all you have done for me. Thank You helping me stay on my feet during a hard time in my life!
- Charlie Johnson, Welding Boot Camp Participant
Charlie Johnson of Racine finds joy in learning with others of all ages. “I really like the design of the boot camp…from meeting new people…to learning new skills…to mentoring the younger students…and having very helpful instructors…it’s a good mix,” said Johnson. Johnson has experience in welding and enrolled in the boot camp to get certified. He has taken many courses over the years, so returning to the classroom was not difficult. What he found challenging was the amount of studying required outside the classroom. “We easily have 2-3 hours of studying outside the classroom for every hour we have inside the classroom,” stated Johnson, “but there is excellent tutoring and extra lab time available so it all gets done.”
Along with technical skills, Johnson and his fellow welders-in-training are learning about workplace safety practices through the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) safety module. MSSC is an industry-led training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s production workers. MSSC certification is awarded by passing the safety assessment. Johnson described one of the ways that technical skills are measured, “The instructor has a worksheet for each type of welding we are learning (job assignment sheet) and we have to demonstrate each skill technique before we can move on to the next.” The students also get to view practical applications of welding, as they did on a recent company tour. Johnson explained, “We took a tour of a race car body shop in Twin Lakes. We saw how welding is used to fabricate race car parts.”
Johnson sums up the boot camp as an excellent opportunity for getting a welding job. After attaining certification in welding he plans to continue on with his education. Charlie is still looking for a welding position in Milwaukee.
- William Smith, Welding Boot Camp Participant
William Smith found out about the boot camp by accident. Working on his resume while at the Racine County Workforce Development Center, he heard some-one ask about an application for the boot camp. His interest grew, he went to find out how he could apply and wound up with the last application. He had no back-ground in welding but was extremely interested in gaining a new skill that he could take with him anywhere. “This is a tough job market,” said Smith, “and I am grateful to be in this amazing program learning new skills.” Smith appreciates the experience the boot camp offers. “We have a lot of lab time,” says Smith, “that is great, and what makes it even better is that we are always being challenged to prove our skills. For example, the instructors will "accidently" on purpose cut off the gas...or a piece of equipment will get slowed down. By creating these situations the instructors get us to problem solve situations that could occur on the job.” Smith praised the instructors, “The teachers are great. I didn't expect everyone to be so helpful; in fact, I was afraid the program would be sink-or-swim. Mike (Skender) is an outstanding teacher – he is good at what he does and good at sharing that knowledge. You get unlimited help from him!”
In addition to welding skills, the boot camp students learn customer service skills and business planning for opening their own shop. “They touch base on everything in this program and that is why this has been the right opportunity at the right time for me.” Smith's future plans include continuing on with school by taking specialized robotics and pipe welding courses. He is working odd jobs at this moment until he can land a regular welding job.
- Dan Bidwell, CNC Boot Camp Participant
"Getting accepted to the CNC Boot Camp was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was stuck in dead-end jobs for my entire adult life until I was accepted into the Boot Camp program. I wanted to be a machinist for years, but companies don't hire anybody without experience anymore, and I couldn't afford to be out of work for a year or two to take the courses to get an accredited certification from school. The CNC Boot Camp gave me the opportunity to support my family without struggling to make ends meet. Now I'm going back to school to get my Technical Diploma as a CNC Production Technician. I'll be able to program, set-up, and operate any CNC machine, which will open even more doors for me. I'd like to thank all of the people that put their hard work and effort into making the CNC Boot Camp program a success."
- Linda Glass, FW, Management Professional, ProTech Group
I just can't say enough about the value of Pro-Tech to myself and other job seekers!!!!
The meetings provide a unique opportunity to collectively networking with other job seekers and explore resources available to aid in our job search. The guest speakers that have been part of the meetings are knowledgeable in a variety of areas pertinent to our group.
The Workforce Development Staff has also integrated seamlessly to further assist us in being "well armed" for our search. Finding a job can lonely and disheartening, but not so with Pro-Tech!!
It provides a tool for those engaged in the group to take their job search to a new level of preparedness and professionalism.
- Dan L. Bell, ProTech Group
So far my time at Protech has been an interesting dichotomy. What has been invaluable to me are the contacts, friendships and support that I have received from people that have come into this group. The array of disciplines represented in this gathering have expanded my network of people that are not ordinarily in my HR and Higher Education field.
Peer review of personal marketing materials (résumé, business cards, etc.) by those who are into the same difficult job market lends itself to a higher degree of specificity and refinement. I am now even more confident in my ability to find meaningful employment as a direct result of my involvement with this group.
- Amy Czerniec, ProTech Group
I feel that ProTech has helped by putting me in touch with fellow job seekers who have supplied me with valuable advice regarding my job search. Linda and Marlene always have interesting topics with helpful tips and information. The environment is very positive and upbeat. I am pleased that Workforce Development offers such a great support group for all of the people currently in transition.