Career EXCELerate Cohort Earns Credentials

Career EXCELerate Cohort Earns Credentials

Program is collaboration of FVTC, Goodwill and Rawhide

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

More than 30 students who started their journey with Career EXCELerate in January are celebrating a unique milestone; they are among the first full cohort to have earned educational credentials through the program.

Students in the spring 2023 cohort were honored at a completion ceremony at Fox Valley Technical College after earning certificates in Nursing Assistant, Early Childhood Teacher Aide, Woodworking Technician, Professional Truck Driving and Welding Fundamentals.

“Fox Valley Technical College is proud to be part of this groundbreaking collaboration with two premier community partners,” says Dr. Chris Matheny, president of Fox Valley Technical College. “It is especially gratifying that this program benefits individuals who might otherwise be neglected or underserved in the traditional workforce. Local employers will also benefit from this program, knowing they are hiring individuals who have been equipped with the essential technical and personal responsibility skills necessary to be valuable contributors in their workplace.”

Thanks to Career EXCELerate, Korie Hansen, a student in the first cohort, completed her Early Childhood Teacher Aide certificate to launch her career. Korie dreams of being a teacher in a 4-year-old kindergarten classroom. Her mental health and finances were big hurdles. “It has given me the confidence to know that I can go back to school and do well. It’s given me a refresher on a lot of vital skills. Confidence is a big one, just knowing that I’ve got the support has been amazing,” Korie says.

Career EXCELerate began in the summer of 2022 when the partners received a Workforce Innovation Grant from the State of Wisconsin. The program is offered at no cost to individuals who may need individualized support to start their careers or return to the workforce following the pandemic. The purpose of the program is twofold: to support individuals as they seek high-demand careers and create a pipeline of job seekers who have the needed credentials to fill essential roles in our local workforce.

“Career EXCELerate brings an innovative approach to the table for Wisconsin job seekers and employers. The program leverages the expertise of our three partnering organizations for individuals who have goals to build their skills and jumpstart or grow in their careers,” says Chris Hess, president and CEO of Goodwill NCW.  “Our combined expertise means we built a program to serve the whole person. We believe this is why we are seeing high completion rates as students successfully earn their certificates and pursue their dreams. We are energized by the work being done with our partners to address challenges facing our communities.”

“Rawhide couldn’t be more proud of the students finishing their courses and who are about to enter the workforce—many for the very first time in a new career,” adds Alan Loux, president and CEO at Rawhide Youth Services. “From the beginning, we knew Career EXCELerate had the potential to change hundreds of lives in our community. This group represents the first of that change. These individuals are overcoming all kinds of challenges life and the pandemic have thrown their way and, together with the good people of Fox Valley Technical College and Goodwill NCW, we’ve been able to help them discover a future they’d never thought possible.”

The program continues to enroll students on an ongoing basis for all career educational certificate programs. Educational tracks offered by Career EXCELerate include:

  • Nursing Assistant
  • Early Childhood Teacher Aide
  • Woodworking Technician
  • Pipe Trades
  • Welding Fundamentals
  • Industrial Manufacturing Technician
  • Professional Truck Driving - Class A and B CDLs
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle Maintenance - Diesel Technology Assistant