Anoka County Job Training Success Stories:

Contributing to the success of individuals and employers through workforce development services.

Dislocated Worker Program

Heidi received notice that her office was closing where she worked as an Admissions Representative for the past five years. 

​She was accepted into the Dislocated Worker Program and her counselor helped update her resume and encouraged her to take job search classes at the Anoka County WorkForce Center. 

​She interviewed for a new job but needed additional training.  The On-the-Job Training program allowed her new employer the opportunity to train her and after 90 days of training, she developed the skills needed for her job. 

​​This program not only offered training but helped give positive encouragement, opportunity and benefited the employee and employer.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Mark enrolled in Anoka County’s SCSEP with the intention of obtaining part-time employment. Following an initial assessment by his counselor, Mark was placed through SCSEP in a part-time work experience. Mark remembers it being a challenge at first as he hadn’t worked with people before. For most of his career Mark worked as contracted labor and worked independently.

The first year the program helped Mark learn how to work with people. Mark’s supervisor comments on his performance review “Overall, Mark has grown into a valued team member of our production crew.”   Mark continues to grow in this positon and colleagues have taken notice. Mark’s supervisor wrote in his most recent performance review that Mark does a very good job of holding himself to high standards when performing duties. Mark’s supervisor has used his work performance as an example for others on how they should work.  Mark states, “I just do the best I can, I try, that is all I can do.”

Youth Program
job searching

Alexis was referred to Empowers, Anoka County Minnesota Youth Program, by her school’s inclusion and diversity coordinator. She participated in the Future Leaders program through Coon Rapids High School. Future Leaders is a program for African American high school seniors that show the desire to attend college but would like to earn work experience and be a mentor prior to graduation. Empowers provided a work experience within the school district as a teacher’s assistant to mentor children at Adventures Plus.

Alexis graduated from high school in June 2017 with excellent academic standing. Prior to graduation she was accepted to Augsburg University where she plans on studying Social Work and French. Due to her high academic standing she earned multiple academic scholarships to help pay for her schooling.

​She will continue to work at Adventure’s Plus over the summer through Empowers and has secured part-time employment on-campus for the fall semester as well.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) / Diversionary Work Program (DWP)

MFIP Success Story pic

Jimmy and Jeannot moved from Florida to Minnesota and originally emigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo where Jeannot worked as a Sales Representative, and Jimmy worked as a Consultant for the World Bank providing economic aid to local communities.

Jimmy and Jeannot knew they had to start over with their careers and found the staff at the Anoka County Job Center to be very helpful in providing advice and assistance. Their Vocational Counselor through MFIP connected them with Cars for Neighbors, they applied and were given a donated car. The car made it possible for Jimmy to be able to get to his full-time job and Jeannot to get to her English Language class. Both Jimmy and Jeannot advanced from English Language Learner classes to successfully enroll in college.

​Jeannot received job search assistance through MFIP where she had help updating her resume and polishing her interview skills. As a result, she obtained a part-time job as a Home Health Aide and continues schooling at Anoka Ramsey Community College. Jimmy continues to receive support while in a training program at Hennepin Technical College where he is working on a degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

​With the combination of Jimmy and Jeannot’s diligent work ethic and the assistance they have received from the Anoka County Job Training Center, they are now both employed and continue to move forward in meeting their education goals and advancing their careers.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training

zeniaXena moved from Minnesota from Leavenworth, KS; she was looking for a fresh start and stayed with family friends that live here in Anoka County.  She enrolled with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training Program where she received help with her job search and was referred to begin the process of getting her GED.  Job search came easily to her and she quickly started a part time job and also began working on getting her GED and in no time had accomplished this goal as well. Once she had her GED behind her; she immediately set her sights on attending college.

Through the SNAP Program; she was provided with not only help toward finding employment but was also connected with resources to help her meet her goals of completing her GED and enrolling in college.  Xena has since enrolled in classes at Rochester Community and Technical College and four weeks into her first semester; she was nominated for the National Honor Society.  Her long term goal is to eventually own her own business and with Xena's proven track record; this is definitely within her reach!   A note from Xena to her Anoka County Family: "I would like to give a thank you to my Anoka County family for helping to reach all these goals and for pointing me in the right direction."

Health Care Pathways
hcp pic

My name is Alain and I was a successful applicant to the Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card) leaving Africa for the United States of America with family, having in mind to settle in Minnesota.

I came to the USA with many qualifications including Public Officer, Procurement Expert, Junior Environmental Assessment Consultant, and Catering Specialist. I had to find a job so that I could take care of my family and put food on the table. While applying for health insurance I discovered the Healthcare Pathways Program and was immediately interested in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. I found a night job working from midnight to 8am at the same time the Healthcare Pathway training started. For the two months of the training, I worked my overnight shift and then attended training classes at 8am. I needed courage and a high sense of self-sacrifice to succeed in pursuing both my job and my training but I was determined to make it work.

​ The Healthcare Pathways Training started out with taking a two-week Prep Class taught by Metro North Adult Basic Education where I was introduced to Medical Terminology that helped prepare me for the college level classes. Then I started the Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide classes through the Professional Workforce & Training at Anoka Technical College. The training program offered three extra classes at Anoka Technical College, I obtained certificates in Caregiving for Dementia, Holistic Healing, and my BLS (Basic Life Support) certification.

​ After successfully passing the State Nursing Assistant exam, my name was placed on the State of Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry as a Certified Nursing Assistant. I would like to express a heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people at Anoka County who supported me and encouraged me to move forward. I was recently offered a job at a Care Center in the Coon Rapids area working full-time and at a very good wage. I’m really excited for this new job opportunity and to be working in a field where I can help people.

​Good personal organization and a clear vision of the objectives to be met are key drivers of achievement and success in one’s endeavors. This certification, which is an essential first step in the healthcare profession, has taught me a lot and inspires me. I will continue to pursue my career in this exciting and fulfilling profession!

Office & Administrative Technology

Melissa  Juston

Both Melissa and Juston were young parents and did not continue their education past high school. They both fell into careers without much thought or choice. Years later they both had life altering events that led them to the O.A.T.S. program through Anoka County.

Melissa lost her job in the banking field due to a simple mistake and that was their only source of income. Their daughter was now in college and her husband was unemployed due to an automobile accident. She turned to the Blaine WorkForce Center for help and found information on the Career Pathways Program. She enrolled in the Office Administrative and Technical class. The classes move at a fast pace and Melissa would come in early and stay late so she wouldn’t fall behind. All of the instructors supported her every step of the way.

After the class was complete she was placed in an 8-week internship which was an excellent opportunity to put the newly learned skills into real life situations. During the internship period, the class would still meet to discuss interviewing, resumes, soft skills, and support each other. After the internship was over Melissa continued to have weekly meetings with her counselor and focused on customizing her resume, interviewing, writing cover letters, and creative job search ideas. Six months later, Melissa found her dream job in the perfect location, working the exact hours she needed and making higher wages than she did in her previous job.

During Melissa’s enrollment with Career Pathways she encouraged Juston to enroll in the program. Juston was in an auto accident that ended his ability to continue working in the construction industry. It wasn’t easy going back to school after almost 20 years but life will give you what you put into it, and this experience showed Juston how true that is. Instructors and counselors made this learning experience fun. Everyone worked as a team which made it easier for all the students. After completing the O.A.T.S program Juston enrolled in an 8-week internship at Core-Mark International and was hired part-time for a position that required a bachelor’s degree. Juston is hoping Core-Mark has a full-time opportunity in the future but if not, he now has the confidence and experience to obtain a position anywhere that meets his qualifications.

The O.A.T.S program has allowed both Melissa and Juston to earn wages close or higher than previous wages and they will always be grateful to the Anoka County WorkForce Center, the programs, and the staff that helped make this possible.

Precision Sheet Metal


Betita worked on her English, math and reading skills at Metro North Adult Basic Education prior to enrollment to meet the Precision Sheet Metal training program requirements. She worked hard on her skills for two years while working multiple jobs. Through hard work and perseverance, she reached her goal to meet the reading and math criteria needed for entry into the program. She applied and was invited into the Precision Sheet Metal (PSM) training program.

Once accepted into the program, she attended the Career Connections Workshop, 40 hours of Shop Math through Metro North ABE, and 100 hours of PSM class at Anoka Technical College; working in the shop, learning machine safety, blueprint reading, and how to operate the Press Brake, Laser, and Turret.

​ At graduation, Betita was chosen by the Instructors to give a speech about her experience in PSM training. After the ceremony was over, she met with employers that were there recruiting graduates and had three job offers by the end of the night! She accepted a job offer from Pentair/SMX in Anoka as a Machine Operator earning $15.00/hour. “PSM Training has given her many different opportunities in the sheet metal and manufacturing industries.”

MN Disability Employment Initiative (DEI)

tomDEI is an innovative partnership which focuses on increasing employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities who are over 18 years of age and enrolled in career pathways training. I enrolled in the Precision Sheet Metal Training Program, made possible through a DEED Pathways to Prosperity grant.
I am a talkative and engaging person who asked good questions and moved from one topic to another quickly at an initial meeting with a Job Placement Specialist and Vocational Counselor. It sounded like a good program but I was worried about the math involved in the course as I was not good at fractions. I decided to apply anyway when I learned that it is “hands-on” training, the average starting pay is $14.00 an hour, and employers come to graduation to meet and recruit employees. I was told that the training moves quickly and is demanding. This meant that I needed to stay on top of my assignments, ask questions and stay focused when operating the machines because safety is the most important worker concern in sheet metal fabrication. ​​

​I attended the Career Pathways Orientation where I learned more about the training, filled out an application and provided information that determined my
program eligibility. My math score, though lower than required, was within the range for adults my age who have been out of school and not using math regularly. The Vocational Counselor met with the program’s Career Navigator and advocated for my acceptance into the program. My Integrated Resource Team also included a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and an Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructor, who assisted me with my shop math directly. An Individual Learning Plan was implemented to describe my broad life goals and specific training goals. Each team member supported me in my training and employment goals and helped me with challenges that arose while I worked hard toward my Certificate of Completion. ​

At graduation, I was the first one talking to prospective employers. Within a week of graduation, I obtained a job at a local manufacturing firm, with a starting wage of $15.00 per hour. I have since been hired by the company on a full-time, permanent basis.