Overcoming COVID-19 Challenges

Last fall, Wynnielle Howland had a difficult decision in front of her. She had just finished serving time at the Kent County Jail and she was ready to start fresh in a new career, but she didn’t know where to start. She was recommended to our New Beginnings program and paired with one of our coaches, Julie. They began meeting and discussing Wynnielle’s career goals. Her father had been a welder, and Julie suggested Wynnielle enroll in the 18-week welding program at GRCC M-Tech.

Wynnielle began classes in December 2019 and attended school full time Monday through Thursday. She was in a small class of five people, including one other woman who was working with the Women’s Resource Center. After intense, months-long, hands-on training, Wynnielle was comfortable with the helmet, jacket, and gloves needed for the job. She knew all about safety precautions and how best to start a new project. She persevered throughout the quarantine period and graduated this summer with her certificate — and a full-time job offer from a local metal manufacturer.

We are so proud of Wynnielle and many others who continued pursuing education, a job change, and skills training throughout the pandemic shutdown.

“My Coach Julie was the best. I don’t know where I would be today without her. Any time I needed to talk to her, she always picked up the phone.”

Are you open to learning new skills and strategies to find meaningful employment?