Jenny AshCheyenne

Jenny Ash is 33 years old and married with four children. She and her husband were having a hard time making ends meet. Her employment history reflected 10 years work experience as a child care provider, a position with low wages and no opportunity for advancement. Her wage as a child care provider was only $6.20 per hour. Ash's husband was a seasonal construction worker, earning $8 - $10 per hour, who had just started his own business as a tile setter. As a new business owner, Ash's husband's income was low. It would take time to build a customer base and make his small business a success. In these circumstances the family's combined six month income was $12,544 - way below the $24,790 recommended for a self-sufficient wage in Wyoming, at 185% of the federal poverty guideline. Also the family had to rely on public assistance each month.

Ash needed to find employment that would help her husband support their four children. She decided to pursue a career as a registered nurse. There is a shortage of registered nurses, not only in the local labor market, but nationwide, which makes this occupation in high demand. As a nurse, she would be able to make a good wage and help her family exceed the poverty guideline.

Ash came to the Cheyenne Workforce Center seeking WIA assistance to pay for tuition, books, and related expenses at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). Jenny had already completed all prerequisite course work, on her own, at a pace she could afford. Also, she had applied for and was among the few students at LCCC to be accepted into their nursing program. Everyone made sacrifices in order for her to graduate.However, she did not have sufficient financial resources to enable her to complete the program without some assistance. At the Workforce Center, Ash's career advisor, Judy Carroll, determined that WIA assistance could help her realize her goals.

Justification for both WIA intensive and training services was complete and Ash was approved for training. With WIA assistance, she was able to attend nursing classes at LCCC with less financial difficulty and worry. Ash worked hard during her two years of nursing school and maintained a B average, while juggling the demands of a mother and wife and continuing to work part-time. The LCCC nursing program is a difficult program and many students, good students, dropped out due to the demands and difficulty of the program. However, Ash prevailed and graduated from the nursing program with a solid B average. Her husband and children attended her pinning ceremony for graduation because her success truly was a family effort. Everyone made sacrifices in order for her to graduate. Ash passed her RN board examinations in June 2006.

Following graduation, Ash was hired as an RN at the United Medical Center West in Cheyenne, and is now earning $22.40 per hour working full-time. Ash is earning $23,116 every six months not counting shift differential. With her wage alone, this enables her family almost to meet self-sufficiency guideline of $24,790. Ash is due for a wage increase in six months and she received a $5,000 sign on bonus from the hospital.

With the assistance of the WIA program and education/skills training through the LCCC nursing program, Ash went from a child care provider earning $6.20 per hour to being successfully employed as an RN in a high demand occupation with an open future and opportunity for continued wage increases. She is making an excellent income for the local labor market, with the opportunity for continued success. Ash is appreciative of all the assistance the WIA program gave her and she is a true success story.