Success Stories

Tierra, Teacher Assistant/Bus Aide

Tierra Brown was referred to the WIOA adult program internally by the People Incorporated Head Start program where she was working as a Teacher’s Assistant/Bus Aide with the Head Start program. As a condition of her employment, Tierra was required to obtain her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) within 90 days of hire. She had attempted to take the CDL learner’s test three times on her own and was not successful in passing the written portion of the test. This can be a great challenge for individuals wishing to work through all local head start programs; though individuals have the passion to work with our children, the mechanical aptitude required to obtain a CDL permit is not always one of their strengths. Tierra realized how difficult this endeavor was going to be and feared that she would not be able to meet this requirement of her employment. One of the biggest barriers that Tierra now faced was that due to her prior failed attempts at passing the written test, she would now have to take a week long training course through a truck driving academy prior to being eligible to retake the written test a fourth time. This week long course cost $500 and, on Tierra’s limited income, she knew she could not pay for the training. That is when Tierra was referred to Christina Tyler within the Workforce Development Department. Throughout their initial interactions, Christina learned that Tierra was a mother of three, a member of our National Guard, and was receiving benefits from the local Department of Social Services. Christina was able to quickly determine Tierra’s eligibility to receive services through the WIOA Adult program. Tierra completed written assessments to gauge her ability to complete the CDL training. She demonstrated both an interest and aptitude through her TABE and CareerScope results which enabled her to move forward with the truck driver training course with the support of the WIOA Adult program. Tierra successfully completed and passed the week long training and the DMV test on her first attempt. Although Tierra was still working through the head start program, she was looking for other opportunities to increase her level of employment and in-turn her self-sufficiency. Soon after attaining her license, her case manager Christina Tyler assisted her with applying for a position with the Bristol City VA Public Schools as a Teacher Assistant/Bus Aide. She was hired for this position and is now working in a full-time position with benefits. As a result, Tierra received a 52 percent increase in pay, earning $13.61 per hour. Tierra is very grateful for the assistance and opportunities received through the Workforce program and feels that without the WIOA program she would not have been successful in attaining her goals.