February 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News

Nebraska Staff on Capitol HillNebraska Staff Meets with Congressman

Proteus Nebraska staff met Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, second from right, and the Palestinian Ambassador, third from left, when they attended the AFOP Health and Safety Leadership Conference, Washington DC.

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Client Finds a New Career

Quinton finds passion in welding program


Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Quinton Vore spent several years working as a seasonal farm hand. He primarily sorted, cared for and fed cattle. After some time, he realized that he wanted a career and not just a job. Because of passion for working with his hands and welding interested him, Quinton enrolled in the Missouri Welding Institute in Nevada, Missouri. He knew that financially, school would be a challenge as he wouldn’t be able to work as many hours. In order to accomplish his goal of completing school, Quinton was living off his savings.

Missouri Welding Institute offers three court options: master pipe welding and fitting; master structural welding and fitting; and customized welding and fitting. To gain the best knowledge and experience Quinton enrolled in the 18-week master pipe welding course, which without financial aid cost $14,375. In addition to tuition, additional purchases such gloves, welding mask and other equipment are required.


Quinton Vore spent several years working as a seasonal farm hand and now has a job as a welder.

Toward the end of the 18-week course, Quinton spoke with a UMOS case manager and was able to secure financial resources. In addition, Proteus was able to help cover some of Quinton’s tuition and help pay for some of his tools.

Quinton graduated from Missouri Welding Institute and found a job. Having his welding certificate opened many doors for Quinton. Working with a temp-to-hire agency, Core Crew, Quinton was placed with United Group Services, Inc. based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a traveling combo welder and is in his 90-day probationary period. Upon completion, he will be eligible for benefits and a raise.

The National Farmworker Jobs Program and Proteus have been a huge support for Quinton. Good luck, Quinton, and great work!

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Instructor Supports Student Success

Partner helps support students


Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

One of the key responsibilities of being a case manager for the National Farmworkers Jobs Program is developing relationships that can ensure client success. In many cases, these connections involve educating others about vocational programs at community colleges. Over time these individuals become advocates for NFJP and will frequently send referrals to Proteus in hopes that farmworkers will get the assistance they need. One of these individuals is Mark Pritts at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa. While this campus offers many curriculums, one of the most successful for the NFJP program is the heavy equipment operation and maintenance program.


Mark Pritts, Northwest Iowa Community College, directs students to Proteus and the services we can provide.

Mark has been teaching at NCC for 13 years and has been able to witness first-hand the impact that Proteus and the NFJP program can make in the lives of his students. After meeting Proteus Case Manager Melissa Rude, Mark has become a true champion for NFJP and the support offered by Proteus. He recalls being skeptical of the program at first, but after student enrolled after Melissa’s first presentation, he saw the benefits that NFJP can provide. He encourages students to reach out to Proteus if he hears that they have a background working in agriculture. “By signing something as simple as a timesheet, I have helped a student financially in a very small way. It actually makes me feel good,” Mark said.

In the time Melissa has been working with Mark, at least one client per year successfully completes the heavy equipment maintenance program and goes on to secure full-time employment. Instructors like Mark play a key role in ensuring the success of the client’s training goals.

“Any time the students can catch a break financially, it puts their mind back on their learning process and takes a little weight off of their day-to-day financial needs,” Mark said.

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Building a Future with Support from Proteus

Trevor earns degree and has a new career


Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa City, Iowa.

Trevor Starnes enjoyed his work baling hay and tending cattle, but the inconsistent work and paycheck were not enough to sustain a life for him and his daughter. Knowing changes needed to be made, he enrolled at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. While attending classes, he attended a presentation about Proteus and he found he would be eligible for financial assistance, crucial to hel[ing him as he pursued a better life.

Living off his savings and earning money when he could, Trebor benefitted from Proteus’ support. Receiving a regular stipend as well as grocery and gas assistance allowed Trevor to focus on class and provide for his young daughter.

Trevor Starnes

Trevor Starnes joined the Iowa National Guard while earning his degree.

In addition to the Proteus program, Trevor also enlisted in the Iowa National Guard, an aspiration he had since he was a child. This achievement furthered his chances of success and soon Trevor was able to put these experiences, as well as his classroom training, to work for him as he sought employment.

Proteus offered support in developing his resume and conducting his job search. His job placement at a local construction company, aligned with Trevor’s interests and provides a regular, substantial income for him and allows him to be self-sufficient.

Construction employment is in high demand in Iowa and is one of the areas Proteus directs employees for career placement. Having someone in his corner is what Trevor enjoyed the most from his Proteus case manager. The guidance and financial aid helped Trevor achieve the life he once thought was only a dream.

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Client Earns Degree and Finds a New Career

Conner’s new career provides financial security


Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

In July 2015, Case Manager Kim Parnell enrolled Conner Pahl into the National Farmworkers Job Program when he was a student at Southeast Community College in Milford, Nebraska. Two years later, this seasonal farmworker from Beatrice, Nebraska received his associates of applied science degree in nondestructive testing technology.

Upon graduation, Conner starting working at DBI of Lincoln, Nebraska. Since graduation, Conner has refined his skills and traveled throughout the Midwest. He is happy with this job because it is not strictly indoors, it pays well (starting at $19/hour), and allows him to travel. To date, he’s worked in Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa and Kansas. He is out of town about two weeks per month.

Conner Pahl

Conner Pahl earned his degree and now has a new career.

What does a nondestructive tester do? They x-ray welds to test the integrity of the welding job that others do. Right now Conner is doing radiography, but eventually he hopes to conduct ultrasonic testing.

In speaking about his job and his relationship with Proteus, Conner stresses deep gratitude for the assistance he received from Proteus Case Manager Kim. The program curriculum was not easy, it required several hours of homework every night. This schedule did not allow Conner to work during the school day, so the weekly stipend, mileage assistance and book allowance were of great help. On weekends, Conner was able earn money by assisting at his parent’s wine tasting room. The combination of his own work ethic, paired with assistance from Proteus, helped Conner get through school with much less debt.

Conner now shares that he is working, “lots of hours,” but he’s happy with his career choice.

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Orchard Owner Directs Employee to Proteus

Morgan is now attending college


Dana Cowsert is a Case Manager in Indiana.

After hearing about the opportunities that Proteus had to offer, the owner of Farlow’s Orchard in Russiaville, Indiana, was excited for his star employee, Morgan Metzger, to meet with Proteus staff. After a conversation with Morgan and her mother, Proteus Case Manager Dana Cowsert started the intake process.

Morgan is certainly not afraid of hard work. From picking apples, to sorting, and even trimming the apples trees, this is all work she enjoys. Whether it is her job at the orchard, or canoeing and fishing, outdoors is where Morgan prefers to spend her time. She is excited about attending college and learning about what she loves. Morgan is hopeful to someday apply for a position at Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Morgan Metzger

With support from Proteus, Morgan is now attending college and pursuing her degree in agriculture.

Morgan is pleased with the way things have fallen into place and she is enjoying the journey on her career pathway with help from Proteus. She is a bright and talented young lady with big dreams who does well at balancing school and work priorities. Just weeks after qualifying for early graduation from Western High School in December, 2017, Morgan was attending freshman orientation at Indiana University Kokomo where she is currently enrolled.

With the assistance from Proteus, Morgan is able to attend college and take courses toward a bachelor of science degree in biological and physical sciences which includes earth and sustainability sciences. With this degree, Morgan has many career opportunities including jobs in agriculture, education and medical research. Because Morgan has school-related responsibilities, Proteus is able to assist her with a stipend for her time in class which can be used for groceries and school expenses. This assistance will provide relief to Morgan so she can focus on her classes and getting good grades.

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