Tag Archives: transportation

Driven to Succeed

18 Apr


Viginus Nwokonkwo

Viginus Nwokonkwo enrolled in the Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (or WERC) seeking employment assistance.  However, soon after enrolling, Viginus had to return home to Nigeria to tend to a death in the family. In June of 2014, upon return to the United States, Viginus began training for a Commercial Driver’s License.

During training, he was sleeping on a friend’s couch and experiencing car troubles. Determined to complete his training, however, Viginus borrowed a friend’s car and made the long commute. Unfortunately, his challenges did not end with transportation.  Viginus was also dealing with custody issues for his daughter while in training.

Rather than be swayed or defeated by these challenges, Viginus was driven.  He was determined to get back on his feet.  Viginus graduated from Austin Community College’s CDL program and found full-time employment with Gemini, a trucking company that transports crude oil throughout the United States.

He is no longer dependent on friends for a place to live or a car to use and is establishing a better life for himself and his daughter.

Viginus also remains grateful for the assistance and support he received from Workforce Solutions and the WERC program.  He is always willing to help current WERC clients who have any questions about CDL or are interested in working for Gemini.

About WERC

The Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (WERC) provides client services ranging from Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to job readiness instruction and occupational training with the goal of empowering clients with the skills they need to advance their employment opportunities and realize their economic potential. For more information program specifics and eligibility requirements, please visit www.wercaustin.com

Flying Forward with the Top Down

25 Jun

Jonathan Ball - PhotoAfter leaving the military in the 80’s, Jonathan Ball worked as a trainer and manager in the civilian workforce for nearly 25 years. Unfortunately, in August 2010, his career took a sharp turn and Jonathan was laid off.  He was left to redefine his career path.

With thoughtful evaluation of his skills and the local labor market, Jonathan determined he needed a career with more stability but he lacked a certification or license in a high demand field.

“I didn’t want to be laid off again,” says Jonathan. “I wondered ‘What can I do where I will have a job?’ Healthcare.”

As an honorably discharged veteran, Jonathan knew he possibly qualified for educational benefits but was unsure what and how. Being a man of action, however, he did not waste any time. Just weeks after his layoff, Jonathan learned how he could utilize the Hazelwood Act to earn a healthcare related degree and began taking courses at Austin Community College.

Upon completion of his prerequisite courses for an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, Jonathan enrolled in the WIA program through Workforce Solutions Capital Area and began working with his career counselor Barbara Emokpaire. As the Hazelwood Act was covering his tuition, WIA helped cover the supplemental costs of going to school, including books, scrubs, and gas.

“I would encourage anyone looking to go to school to explore all of their options,” says Jonathan. “With Hazelwood and WIA, I essentially had a free education.”

Able to focus on his coursework rather than how it would all be paid for, Jonathan graduated in December 2012 and shortly after began working for a leading local hospital system. In June 2013, he completed his internship period and received a pay raise and title promotion to staff nurse.

“I’m not where I was before the layoff,” says Jonathan, “but I’m stable and I’m getting there.”

Jonathan would like to give back and is willing to assist people looking for advice regarding success in the ACC nursing program. If you would like to speak with him, please submit request at www.wfscapitalarea.com/ContactUs.

About the WIA Program

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. Specifically, WIA can provide:About the WIA Program

  • Job search assistance
  • Child care assistance while in training
  • Transportation assistance
  • Interview clothing and uniforms
  • Tools needed for your new job
  • Funding for basic skills and occupational training

For more information about the program and eligibility, please visit www.wfscapitalarea.com.

The Tools to Make a Positive Change

31 Jan

Heraldo Quiroz - PhotoAs an unemployed father of three, Heraldo Quiroz was no stranger to tough situations.  Having been out of works for nearly half a year, Heraldo lacked the tools and support he needed to get back on his feet, including providing child support.  As a part of the Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) Choices program, he found both at Workforce Solutions Capital Area and began working with his Career Counselor Tammy Powell.

Unfortunately, unemployment was not Heraldo’s only barrier to success and responsibility.  A lack of transportation and a criminal background made it difficult for him to identify and interview for positions that would be the right fit for him. Workforce Solutions provided Heraldo with assistance for his job search, transportation and work attire.

“I was given tools to help with a job search that I didn’t even know were there,” Heraldo said.  “Things don’t usually work out for me. This program and Tammy really helped me get back on track.”

In just over two months, Heraldo found employment and, with an employment retention incentive, helped purchase a computer to assist with his wife’s school work.

“Heraldo said he was ‘paying it forward’ to help someone else,” said Tammy Powell.  “He took the NCP program seriously and utilized every advantage of the support services we offer.

“I am proud to have worked with Heraldo. He is an example of what can be achieved with goals in mind and the necessary support to achieve them.”

About the NCP Choices Program

The Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) Choices program is a collaborative initiative to help non-custodial parents pay child support.  The Travis County Child Support Court (the Court), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and Workforce Solutions Capital Area (Workforce Solutions) work together to help non-custodial parents find employment to pay their owed child support and become a contributing member of the local workforce.

The OAG and the Court identify those non-custodial parents who are in need of and qualify for the NCP Choices program. Qualifications for the program include: the child is currently receiving state assistance in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid; and the non-custodial parent must reside in Travis County, have a social security number and not be currently receiving disability benefits.

Workforce Solutions works with the non-custodial parent to help them secure a job, including identifying and addressing additional outside barriers to obtaining employment.

For more information about the NCP program, contact Workforce Solutions Capital Area.


Workforce Solutions Capital Area is an equal opportunity employer. Auxiliary aids and services are available, upon request, to persons with disabilities. Relay Texas: 800.735.2989 (TDD) / 711 (Voice).