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Youth Continues Path of Success With WIOA Grant


Kelsi Benson began with the WIA Grant in 2011 as a junior in high school. Daughter of a single mother, Kelsi spent most of her time with her grandmother. Throughout her time in the program, WIA helped Kelsi with various services, including helping her obtain her driver's license, which was important for her ability to work.

Toward the end of her junior year, Kelsi volunteered to earn stipends at the Office of Instruction at Alpena Public Schools (APS). When the grant year ended, she continued with APS in a work experience. She was very successful there and they even took her back on during Christmas vacation of her senior year.

“Kelsi Benson was truly an invaluable employee while working in the Office of Instruction for Alpena Public Schools. Even though she was assigned to our office, she often completed the work we had for her and assisted other departments without any hesitation. Each time she was given a task to do she completed it beyond expectation. She always took it to 'the next level'. Tasks were completed efficiently and on schedule. Not only were her office and computer skills excellent, her personality always shined,” said Tina Boven, with Alpena Public Schools. “It's not often you can get (at that time) a high school student who is qualified to 'run with the best' but that was Kelsi. We have no doubt that once she graduates from college, she will have no trouble finding employment as a highly qualified employee.”

Kelsi was also very interested in business and was able to attend the DECA conference with assistance from WIA. She did tutoring through WIA to earn money toward the conferences and later did volunteering at the radio station to receive stipends for her help. At the end of her senior year, Kelsi exited the WIA program.

During follow-up, Kelsi kept her WIOA Grant Case Manager updated on her grades and activities. She did exceptionally well in her classes. At the end of follow-up, Kelsi was concerned about being able to return to SVSU if she didn't make some money during the summer, so her Case Manager put her back on the grant, and she was hired back at APS for the summer. Her sophomore year at SVSU was just as successful as previous school years, and she obtained an internship (and later a job) at Dow Chemical. She continues to work at Dow today, full time during this summer while taking a class during each term.

Kelsi switched her major from business to computer science; minoring in engineering and cyber security. Her employment at Dow is on the cyber-security team, which she thoroughly enjoys. She also finds time to volunteer with ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), and previously volunteered with the Girl Scouts to help develop programming for badges in the computer/business field.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Kelsi on WIOA,” reports WIOA Grant Case Manager Barb Rutherford. “Kelsi seems like the epitome of success and she is grateful for the assistance she has received while on both WIA and WIOA. She expects to graduate from SVSU in May 2019 and I can't wait to see what she settles into! I can see DOW scooping her up, but we'll stay tuned!”

Created on Monday, May 8, 2017