From MSTC students honored with statewide scholarships” – The Wisconsin Employment and Training Association offers two statewide scholarships and both have been awarded to Mid-State Technical College students.

Kristine Ahles and Matt Nievinski, both of Wisconsin Rapids, have each received a scholarship in the amount of $750.  Ahles is pursuing Business Management and Administrative Professional associate degrees.  Nievinski is seeking an associate degree in Information Technology-Network Specialist.

The scholarship application considers economic need, personal characteristics, school and community involvement, personal expression of training and career goals, academic achievement, Wisconsin residency, and two letters of recommendation.  MSTC Financial Aid Supervisor and WETA member Mary Jo Green recommended both students for WETA scholarships.

“I am confident these two individuals will continue to achieve in the classroom and community,” said Green in a press release.  “They are a reflection of the quality of students we have here at MSTC.”

Ahles originally enrolled at MSTC through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Workers Program and enjoys MSTC’s personable hometown friendly atmosphere.

“I look forward to coming to school and learning,” she said in a press release.

Nievinski chose MSTC because he had seen firsthand how much faculty and staff care about their students and foster student success.

“I like the fact that at MSTC you are not treated like a number,” Nievinski said in a press release.  “Faculty and staff are friendly and want to help you succeed when you put forth the effort.”

WETA established scholarships like the Harmon Memorial Scholarship and the Brasch Memorial Scholarship to help students achieve their educational and career goals.

Dennis Harmon was a dedicated professional who spent most of his work life serving the needs of the poor and unemployed through the development, operation and management of education, employment, and training programs in Wisconsin.

John Brasch was one of the founders of WETA and remained an active member until his death.  In his role as a technical college counselor, Brasch was deeply committed to working with disadvantaged students.

From “Program creates ‘Pathways’ to overcome employment barriers” – Note: This is part of a weekly series about jobs, local businesses and the economy.

Between working, going to school and raising three young children, Kristina Robertson has little free time.

The 25-year-old Wisconsin Rapids resident also is going through a divorce, doesn’t have a vehicle and is living with her mother while she earns her certified nursing assistant certificate from Mid-State Technical College.

Those obstacles might seem daunting, but Robertson said after participating in a local program that helps dislocated workers in south Wood County overcome such barriers, her outlook has become more positive.

“If I had my certification, I could get a little bit better-paying job and hopefully support myself,” she said.

Robertson is one of about 100 people participating in the Pathways program — a partnership among Incourage Community Foundation’s Workforce Central initiative, MSTC and other service-related agencies in the community — to help them overcome employment barriers and gain the skills they need to get a job, said Stephanie Bender, who coordinates the program.

“One of the primary things I’ve heard is that people have gained confidence in themselves and confidence in their ability to continue their education further,” Bender said.

While Robertson had to quit her full-time position at Creative Community Living Services — she became a relief worker there in order to go to school — the Pathways partnership has been an invaluable resource, she said.

“They help me out by providing day care, gas (money); they pay for the books and everything like that,” she said.

In addition to the certified nursing assistant class, which is part of the gerontology and memory care program, Pathways case managers also work with students in the customer service office technology, an accelerated GED class and a college preparation course, Bender said. In June, a manufacturing certification will be added to the list.

To others who are in similar situations but have reservations about whether to take the first step, Robertson had one piece of advice.

“They just have to have the encouragement to do it and the willpower,” she said. “Don’t let anyone put you down.”


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