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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Rural Consortium-Upper Arkansas

Meet Alyssa

Workforce Challenge

Often, the path we follow in life is not one we would have consciously chosen; it is often a path that we find ourselves pursuing with few choices or options available to us.
Alyssa wouldn’t have chosen to have a child with Downs Syndrome, have her husband leave her right after he discovered their newborn child had a severe disability, nor have chosen to raise her special needs child by herself. Alyssa would have certainly chosen an easier path…but she didn’t have many options.
Alyssa tried her best to work and support her child by herself. She lost job after job because she was routinely required to take time off from work to rush her severely ill daughter to doctors and to the hospital. Besides the Downs Syndrome, Alyssa’s daughter had chronic issues with her heart. Hospital stays were frequent and expensive.
Alyssa qualified for a low income CHFA loan and was able to get stable housing, but couldn’t make any of the other financial ends meet.
Alyssa maxed out her credit cards and used what money she could get to keep her daughter alive. Collection calls from creditors were common. Alyssa declared bankruptcy twice.
After twelve years of clawing and scratching her way just to survive, Alyssa was more desperate than ever.
She spoke to a case manager at the Fremont County Department of Human Services who suggested she go to the Cañon City Workforce Center for help in getting CNA training.

Workforce Solution

The day Alyssa arrived at the Cañon City Workforce Center was memorable for the team. She was crying uncontrollably and, in her words, very close to a breakdown. She had tried everything but felt she needed help in getting some training and become employed once again.
Alyssa enrolled into the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and started a CNA class. Other local charitable organizations helped her with transportation assistance and respite care while she was in classes and studying.

Outcomes & Benefits

Alyssa graduated from the program and, with the help of the Cañon City Workforce Center, found a job as a CNA that pays a good wage. Now, Alyssa is paying down her credit cards, and, for the first time in her child’s twelve-year life, was able to give her child a toy instead of just necessary clothing for Christmas. Alyssa was also able to treat her parents to dinner, the first time she has ever been able to do so.
Alyssa’s future goals include purchasing a more reliable car and upgrading the furnace system in her house so her house won’t get so cold and make her daughter sick.
Alyssa says,” I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Cañon City Workforce Center and the WIOA Program. For the first time in my life I am independent and on my way towards financial stability.”

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