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FOX CITIES, WICareer EXCELerate Wisconsin, an innovative job training and job placement program operated in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College, Goodwill North Central Wisconsin and Rawhide Youth Services, is collaborating with World Relief Fox Valley to welcome Congolese refugees into the Manufacturing Technician certificate program throughout the spring 2024 semester.

The goal is to have three cohorts of six refugees complete their certificates in five weeks, resulting in 18 newly trained job seekers who are ready to enter the local workforce and fill vital manufacturing roles, and better positioned to improve their financial stability.

“Finding employment in the United States can be an overwhelming challenge and an uphill battle for refugees. Unfortunately, they often face challenges adapting their skills to the U.S. workforce and the barriers to entry can be significant,” said Nicole Gerow, Employment Services Manager at World Relief Fox Valley. “We are proud to partner with Career EXCELerate to give these newcomers the skills and support they need to enter jobs in the manufacturing field.”

The first cohort of students completed their certificates at the end of March and are now securing jobs with assistance from Career EXCELerate. Already, two of the first six to finish have made the move into the workforce. Sungura Mujombe is an employee at Orbis and Machanga Neema is working for Leadpoint. The Swahili-speaking refugees are receiving support from the program as they continue to learn English. Through a translator, Neema said, “I feel like my life will be a little bit easier, compared to if I didn’t take the class.”

Once Certificate Recipient with Rawhide Member


The second cohort completed their certificates in late April and the third cohort will complete in May. During their search for employment and for the first full year of employment, Career EXCELerate will be providing wraparound services to continue to address barriers that make securing and sustaining employment challenging.

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.

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