Lacey charts new career path with help from leading CareerForce partner Workforce Development Inc.

smiling woman with blond hair

Lacey turned pandemic-related job loss into a promising new career thanks to support from a dedicated CareerForce professional. Here’s Lacey’s story in her own words:

In April of 2020 the state of Minnesota was in a state of emergency, locking down many businesses and nursing facilities, as we were faced with the COVID-19 epidemic. During this time I was an Activity Coordinator at a nursing facility in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Due to my own health issues, making it difficult to wear a mask continuously while working, I had needed to take time off from work.

During this time it became apparent to me that it was time to make a change in my career path. I began working on my associate’s degree with online courses. During this time I met a woman who was being assisted by the Dislocated Worker Program in our community. She noted with my situation, I would possibly be eligible for the program as well. I chose to apply, because I knew that CareerForce was beneficial, as I had once been a young single mom who was enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program and had taken the Employment Strategies course in 2007.

Upon entering the CareerForce building in Albert Lea I was greeted by Valerie Kvale, a familiar face from the past. With her dedicated, formal support I was able to determine my Dislocated Worker eligibility in a timely matter. During this time I had earned my associate’s degree, proving I was motivated to make a change. I enrolled in the Bachelor's of Social Work Program through The College of St. Scholastica and with the great amount of positive support from Valerie, I was able to graduate in 16 months.

Over that 16 months, Valerie was in contact with me regularly, checking in on my grades, asking if I needed any support or referrals for resources in the community. I received assistance with my tuition each semester. I was able to utilize gas vouchers for driving to Austin for classes and an internship, once the COVID-19 lockdown ended, and classes began to be in person again.

Valerie also assisted me in researching career options in my community, and was a positive asset when the time came for me to place resumes into future career aspects. She was willing to proofread my resumes and offer constructive criticism and advice when needed. As my graduation date approached, I applied for a position as a Long Term Care Coordinator at Freeborn County Public Health. Within a two week period I was offered the position, walked across the stage to receive my diploma, and became a success story that I believe is one of a kind.

Since 2007, The Career Force of Albert Lea has been a huge asset to my life, as well of the lives of my three beautiful daughters and stepson. I'm so proud to say that with CareerForce’s support and dedication to this community, I was able to graduate with honors, and find a career that has provided the much needed financial stability I have worked hard to achieve over my lifetime.

Thank you Valerie Kvale and all the other wonderful individuals at the Albert Lea CareerForce for being here all the times I have needed you!