Supported by a WI Workforce Innovation Grant, students earn
free certificates to launch in-demand careers

Menasha, WI — On December 13, Career EXCELerate Wisconsin celebrated its second cohort of students to earn educational certificates through the collaborative program operated in partnership with Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin (NCW), Fox Valley Technical College and Rawhide Youth Services. Students in the Winter 2023 cohort completed certificates in Nursing Assistant, Early Childhood Teacher Aide, Professional Truck Driving, Welding Fundamentals, Woodworking Technician and Diesel Technician.

“Career EXCELerate is creating life-changing opportunities for people to overcome challenges and pursue in-demand careers,” Chris Hess, President and CEO at Goodwill NCW said. “We are proud to partner with Rawhide Youth Services and Fox Valley Technical College to ensure that participants have personalized support as they navigate earning their certificates and launching into new career pathways. This innovative approach has an incredible impact in the lives of those it serves and our communities.”

Career EXCELerate is a comprehensive career-training program that was created in summer 2022 with support from a Workforce Innovation Grant from the state of Wisconsin. The program is offered at no cost to individuals who want to launch a lasting career but are struggling and would benefit from individualized support to advance in their profession, enter a career or return to the workforce. The goals of the program are to support individuals as they seek in-demand careers in specific areas of study and create a pipeline of job seekers who have the credentials to fill vital roles in Wisconsin.

As of December 1, 2023, 89% of students who completed Career EXCELerate have either obtained employment or continued with additional education in their field of study within one year of completion. Also, those who have completed the program and attained employment are benefiting from improved financial stability, as they have seen an increase of approximately $8.85 in wages from intake to their current job.

“Goodwill and its partners are succeeding at helping Wisconsinites meet workforce needs and launch family-sustaining careers because this program truly considers the whole person,” said Sam Rikkers, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. “By developing an approach that considers a person’s mental health needs, Career EXCELerate is able to help participants overcome past challenges and succeed in today’s workforce.”

“You see everybody in here, they all accomplished something that they couldn’t do without this grant, without the help from everybody”, said Trevor Wiegert, completer of the Professional Truck Driving program, “We all get to start our next career, it’s a great feeling”

The program focuses on providing tracks that have future career development options. Enrollment takes place on an ongoing basis for all career educational certificate programs. Educational tracks offered by Career EXCELerate include:

  • Nursing Assistant
  • Early Childhood Teacher Aide
  • Woodworking Technician
  • Plumbing Fundamentals
  • Welding Fundamentals
  • Professional Truck Driving – Class A and B CDLs
  • Heavy-Duty Vehicle Maintenance – Diesel Technology Assistant

For job seekers: Those interested in earning a certificate through Career EXCELerate can complete the online application form at

For local employers: Employers can partner with Career EXCELerate to recruit qualified candidates. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

For referrals: Prospective students can be referred by a local agency, nonprofit, employer or personal contact.