Roadblocks. Barriers. Challenges. There are many labels for the situations that get in the way of life goals. Pursuing new skills can be cost-prohibitive. Anxiety might keep some people out of the classroom. A career choice that worked for a while may no longer provide for growing family needs. Limited transportation and childcare options can make it difficult to take advantage of training opportunities.

Career EXCELerate Wisconsin was built to address these and other roadblocks, barriers and challenges. 

People are struggling to enter the workforce, stay in the workforce or re-enter the workforce,” Kayla Countney, Manager of Mission Relations at Goodwill North Central Wisconsin (Goodwill NCW) said. “We took this information and reached out to community partners Fox Valley Technical College and Rawhide Youth Services. Together, we created what we now know as Career EXCELerate, a program that helps people obtain education and employment and stay employed in our communities.

Kayla Countney, Manager of Mission Relations at Goodwill NCW working with Career EXCELerate

Brandon was recently hired at Contract Transport Services (CTS) after earning his truck driving certificate through Career EXCELerate. During his training, he experienced individualized support, one of the unique aspects of the program.

“Career EXCELerate helped me a lot,” Brandon said. “They helped me with the timing, they helped me financially. They even helped me further to make sure this was something I was able to do. They are very considerate of me and everyone else doing this to make sure this is a goal they truly want to pursue.” 

The program offers certificates in several fields of study, including education, health services, truck driving, diesel maintenance, construction and manufacturing. As students pursue their education and employment, the three partners ensure participants have all the tools needed to navigate their pathway. 

Carissa Buchanan, Senior Strategic Planning Manager at Rawhide Youth Services working with Career EXCELerate

“We connect them to everything they need at Fox Valley Technical College and provide a navigator to walk alongside them in their classroom,” Carissa Buchanan, Senior Strategic Planning Manager at Rawhide Youth Services said. “They also have a Goodwill NCW case manager who supports them with resources to overcome barriers that might come up during their studies.” 

The success of Career EXCELerate is evident in the lives of students who complete the program with certificates in hand. 

“You can see how they just feel different about themselves. Their families see them differently. Success is in individual stories,” Sarah Christensen, Career EXCELerate Grant Manager at Fox Valley Technical College said. 

Career EXCELerate’s innovative approach also increases the pool of people ready to be in the workforce. Jim Herd, Recruiter at CTS is grateful to have a new option for finding qualified candidates, “The Career EXCELerate program benefits us as an employer by giving us another avenue to attain a driver.” 

Has life put a few roadblocks in your path? Explore Career EXCELerate. More information is available at 

Career EXCELerate Wisconsin is a collaborative program from Goodwill NCW, Fox Valley Technical College and Rawhide Youth Services. This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0135 awarded to Goodwill via the Wisconsin Workforce Innovation Grant Program by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.