• Lakes & Prairies Community Action Workforce Development SUCCESS STORY

    In December of 2016 Eric walked into Lakes & Prairies Community Action looking for help. Eric was struggling to make ends meet, on the verge of being evicted from his apartment and disconnected from his family.  Eric was still upbeat and optimistic, despite his current situation. He wanted to try something new and better his life for himself, his children and fiancé.

    Eric was selected for the Welding Training program and received supportive services from the program through his case worker Amy.  With Amy’s support and encouragement, Eric successfully completed the welding program on February 16, 2017. He took off running with applying at jobs and sending out resumes. One day Eric and his case manager drove around filling out applications and handing in resumes in hopes of people putting a face to the name. The following week he got an interview and job offer with a construction company in town! He started his new job on March, 27, 2017!

    Eric is just one of hundreds of families who walk through our door every day at Lakes & Prairies Community Action, and Workforce Development is just one program of Lakes & Prairies Community Action.  Our organization has been providing services to children, families and seniors across Clay and Wilkin Counties for over 50 years.  Lakes & Prairies provides over 30 programs and services that help lift people in our community out of poverty including workforce development, housing assistance, financial fitness training, home-buyer education, health insurance counseling, early childhood services, and assistance with benefit enrollment.  All of these programs and services work together to help us achieve our mission to Eliminate Poverty, Empower Families and Engage Communities.  

    The concept of the Workforce Development Program is to tap into the underutilized talent that already exists in our community - in individuals like Eric, and provide them with the skills, training and support they need to be successful, productive employees.  The Workforce Development Program was launched in 2016 in collaboration with the United Way of Cass-Clay and Minnesota State Community & Technical College (MState).  The program was developed to provide a bridge between high demand career areas in our region and low-income households that lack the skills to obtain and maintain living wage employment. 

    Eric continues working with his case manager toward achieving his personal goals.  Since obtaining employment, Eric has secured reliable transportation, moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, and moved his fiancé and baby girl back to Minnesota from Maine. This was the first-time Eric had met his daughter. Eric and his case manager continue to set new goals each week to address anything else that may affect employment and continued stability.  Eric refers to his case manager as his “angel” and talks about how she just keeps encouraging him.  Now he has something to fight for!

    To learn more about Lakes & Prairies Community Action visit www.lakesandprairies.net

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