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ACC Career Forward: “to anyone unsure about this program, just go for it!”

People sitting and sharing with one another during a discussion.

The Career Forward Program is new to the Workforce and Community Programs department, and with a year under way of the newly extended 3-year grant cycle, there is plenty of time to become a participant in the program. In an effort to ramp up interest for this scholarship opportunity, our participants are speaking up to help spread the word! Recently, Jaime Treadwell, the Navigator of Career Forward conducted a quick check-in for our participants to share about their experiences.

What is Career Forward?

Have you recently lost your job due to COVID-19? Are you thinking that it might be time for a new career? Are you looking for education and training that can help you get hired in one of Colorado’s top industries? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average number of jobs that an individual will hold between the ages of 18 and 48 is 11. With those changes usually comes some type of training and development to get that new job or start a new career.

Career Forward is a program for individuals who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. This program provides tuition assistance and student support from our Workforce Navigator.  Each student could receive between $1300-2600 each semester they are enrolled at ACC as long as they continue to be in good academic standing. The exact amount received will depend on each person's financial aid situation. This helps each participant get affordable access to a college education and the support they need to start and finish a certificate or degree so they can get the job they want in Colorado’s workforce.

Tell me about how you connected with Career Forward?

I connected with Career Forward through ACC staff. I received an email that I may qualify for the program since I had been affected by COVID-19 and had received help from another program I had applied for. – Career Forward Participant

I heard about the program while I was working a temporary job for Arapahoe County. Another temp employee told me about the community outreach part of ACC. After submitting my interest, I was contacted and learned that I was eligible to be a participant. – Career Forward Participant

Speak to the many “hats” you wear in your life?

I am a part-time student at ACC, a mom of older children aged (15-24), and wife. I am involved in my children's activities as much as possible. I have a musician who produces and writes music, an artist of several mediums (pottery being the preferred), a senior in high school with a full-time job, and a sophomore in high school involved in 4-H with poultry, breeding beef, and shooting sports. I am most involved with 4-H as it requires a lot of time and effort but is very rewarding. I also have stage 4 liver disease that I am managing. It can be difficult at times with the required medical tests and office visits to stay as healthy as possible. – Career Forward Participant

Oh gosh... Some of the hats I wear are: mom, wife, daughter to an aging parent, part-time bookkeeper, part-time student at ACC, full-time domestic engineer, taxi driver to my son, treasurer for a local scout troop, family event organizer... – Career Forward Participant

While your COVID Impact is required in this program, tell me more about why you are choosing higher education in this pivot out of the Pandemic?

When COVID-19 hit hard in March of 2020, I got sick and was on leave from my job as a grocery cashier for 3 months before I decided it was a good time to pursue a better career path that was more appropriate with my health concerns. I had been debating on going back to school for several months before getting COVID-19. With all the online options, financial help available, and precautions in place for COVID-19 at ACC, the time was right for me! . – Career Forward Participant

I am a mid-life career changer. I initially graduated from ACC May 2020 with an IT degree but quickly found it very difficult to land a job. I worked odds and ends temporary jobs before getting fed up and deciding to return to school. I have always had a knack for finances and now I am getting a degree to help me get my foot in the door to a permanent position. – Career Forward Participant

What have you enjoyed about the Career Forward Program?

While the Career Forward program offers many great benefits, I have personally enjoyed the help I have received with planning my schedule to suit my path, the one-on-one counseling, and the Zoom classes available, like the stress management one I took from spring semester. – Career Forward Participant

The workshops have been fun. I wish they could be in person but having the ability to learn some self-care has been nice change of pace after the crazy times 2020 brought. The scholarship is also a big bonus for my family financially. – Career Forward Participant

For those unsure of this program, what would you say to encourage them to reach out and connect?

To anyone who may be unsure about this program, just go for it! I have only had benefits from Career Forward.  I feel more empowered to better myself and more confident in my abilities. And if I do need help, the program and the people who run it are only a call or email away! – Career Forward Participant

Reach out and ask. I love having one person I can reach out to and ask questions. And to know that I am reaching out to a specific person and not a group email is huge. I don't feel like a lost student anymore wondering if my questions are going to be answered. – Career Forward Participant