Anoka County Job Training Success Stories:

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

Dislocated Worker Program

Stacy visited the Anoka County WorkForce Center after she was laid off from her job after 20 years.  She took classes offered and staff genuinely cared about her and wanted to everything they could to help her succeed.  Additionally, she was accepted into the Dislocated Worker Program and was assigned to a vocational counselor.  Her counselor was beyond helpful and supportive plus helped her enroll in two different certificate programs.  These programs not only enhanced Stacy's resume, but also allowed her to explore different possible positions as well as connect with new people, including her future coworker.

​The WorkForce Center not only helped Stacy learn fundamental skills but also provided a sense of community and purpose that she desperately needed at that time. Without the WorkForce Center she may have been overcome work or depression but instead, it allowed her to constantly move forward rather than remain stagnant.  It was also nice during her interview to be able to specifically state how she had been spending her time in the last six months that she was unemployed.  The WorkForce Center and Dislocated Worker Program has been her lifeline in a very stressful and discouraging time in her life and she is so thankful for these services.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

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Gayle had not worked since 2013 but through the SCSEP program she gained self-esteem and courage to seek full-time employment. She is now working full time making $12 an hour which allows her more financial freedom to do the things she normally couldn’t afford. She feels good being able to contribute to the world around her again and even sometimes do a random act of kindness and buy someone lunch.

Youth Program

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Kendrick Thompson has always been interested in cars, even as a child he wanted to know how cars worked. Kendrick who is now 20 years old, began taking courses in Automotive Dismantling through Northeast Metro 916 Career and Technical Center while still in High School. His interest in cars and automotive dismantling grew and he began to think of this as a potential career.​​Toward the end of his last year of High School, Kendrick met with a Career Counselor through the Anoka County Job Training Center and they found a company to interview Kendrick for a full-time job. The company had an open position for a full time Automotive Dismantler and Kendrick was interested in the opportunity. He interviewed and was extended an offer of a full-time job.

​To assist Kendrick with the transition from High School to full-time work, the Anoka County Job Training Center and his new employer partnered and further implemented an On-the-Job Training (OJT) plan. The OJT will allow Kendrick to expand his knowledge of automotive dismantling and learn all aspects of the job while gaining hands-on training.

Kendrick is getting extensive training from staff as he learns his job. Kendrick reports that while it is challenging at times, the staff are very supportive and he really likes his job.

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


Bridget was enrolled in MFIP Employment Services in August 2016. At that time, Bridget had a GED and work experience as a Deli Cook at a local grocery store and some very limited, entry-level work experience in manufacturing. Bridget was looking for a new job that would pay her a wage sufficient to support herself and her two children and was having difficulty in finding that job due to her lack of a viable skill set.

After participating in job search activities for a few months and not finding the employment she was looking for, Bridget decided to enroll in Anoka County’s Office Administrative Technology (OAT) career pathway training program and pursue a career in office administration. The next class wasn’t scheduled to begin until January 2017 and since she had a few months to wait until that cohort began, Bridget decided to participate in an MFIP Paid Work Experience (PWE) to gain some work experience in an Office Setting. Bridget did well in her PWE and when January 2017 rolled around, she began her OAT training at Metro North ABE and Anoka Technical College. Bridget successfully completed the OAT training program in June 2017 and began her job search again, searching for employment that would utilize her newly acquired skills.

​After a short period of self-employment, Bridget obtained a full-time regular position as a Production Coordinator for a local heating and air-conditioning company. Bridget has stated that the skills she acquired in her OAT career pathway training greatly helped her get hired in her new position and she is currently very happy. The following is a quote from Bridget, “Thank you for everything you have done to help me get here, I am forever grateful.”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training

Life happens and David found himself suddenly unemployed with no back up plan.  He was not prepared to quickly re-gain entry back into the job market.  He had very little resources and was discouraged not knowing what his next steps would be.  In researching available resources, David was referred to Anoka County Human Services and they directed him to the SNAP Employment and Training Program.  He was originally very skeptical about how this would help, but signed up for the program orientation; figuring he had nothing to lose.  David's skepticism was soon turned into enthusiasm as they provided him with encouragement and the resources needed to get back into the job market. Specifically, SNAP provided him with job leads, helped him to create a resume and it provided him with transportation resources needed to search for jobs.  David is grateful for the SNAP Training Program and feels it was very instrumental in getting him back into the job market and preparing him for his current job.    David

Health Care Pathways

HCP Success

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.”