February 2019 Newsletter

Categories: News


Electrical Degree Brings New Opportunities

Stipend helps student complete degree


Matt Winkel

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Iowa.

After being enrolled in school for some time, Hunter knew that something had to change. He was taking courses at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa, pursuing a degree in electrical technology. Iowa Central is known for teaching their students a wide range of electrical skills and preparing them for many different career opportunities. Because of the intense class schedule, students are challenged with attending classes and earning an income to pay their bills. Most students in this situation are forced to drop out of school to support themselves. When speaking with another student, Hunter learned about the assistance Proteus could provide, if eligible.

Hunter Draeger

Hunter’s farm work experience qualified him for the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

Hunter contacted Proteus Case Manager Rachael Roper to inquire about the program. Rachael went over the eligibility requirements and discovered that Hunter had spent a great deal of time working with cattle for a local farmer. He explained the doing farm work and working in construction was not enough to give him the future he was capable of. After verifying his information, Rachael was able to enroll Hunter in the National Farmworker Jobs Program. For the remainder of the school year, Hunter was able to receive a stipend for the majority of the time he spent in class. With these funds he was able to resume focusing on his classes and worry less about his financial situation.

After graduating in May, 2018 Hunter began working full time. He is employed as an electrician for RR Electric, located in Alta, Iowa.

Being very appreciative of the assistance he received from Proteus, Hunter stays in contact with his case manager and is very happy in his new career.

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College offers new future

Ana Karen has an amazing experience


Jody Stutzan

Jody Stutzan is the Regional Director in Nebraska.

For Ana Karen Garcia, college was an amazing experience. “Like many other things in life, there were ups and downs. Looking back I realize that my downs wouldn’t have been so bad if I would’ve been more open with my instructors and more open to ask for help from a tutor,” she said. Ana Karen is 21 years old and from the small town of Ainsworth, Nebraska.

Before attending college, Ana Karen had worked at different farms and agricultural-related jobs like many of her family members. Because of her agriculture work experience, Ana Karen was able to qualify for the National Farmworker Jobs Program and receive a stipend for attending class. Her older brother, who also attended Northeast Community College, participated in the program and his experience played a role in Ana Karen’s decision to apply for the program.

Ana Karen NECC 2018

Ana Karen (right) graduated from college and is now employed because of the support she received from Proteus.

Ana Karen said her experience with Proteus was wonderful. She liked the Rent Smart and Home Ownership training sessions as well as the tips and advice she received from her case manager. Proteus offered many services to help her get through college, including having her car repaired when she was attending classes.

One of her greatest challenges was getting through some of her online classes when she didn’t have the energy to do homework. She said, “I was always reminded by my case worker at Proteus that a bad grade or failed class did not mean failure, but a chance to do better.”

Ana Karen completed her social work training in December 2018 and returned to her hometown to work part-time in a preschool making $10.00 an hour. For now, she just wants to be with her family and eventually she will be looking for a full-time position.

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Healthy at Work

Worker uses layoff to learn new skills


Abagail Wells

Abagail Wells is a Case Manager in Iowa.

Sanford Boulden was among a dozen recently laid off workers attending a workshop hosted by the Iowa Workforce Development office in Vinton, Iowa. Previously, employed at Centrum Valley Farms, Sanford had worked seasonally as a barn worker and his duties centered on caring for the poultry animals as well as harvesting eggs. While earning a respectable $12 an hour, the pay was sporadic as Sanford was not needed on a consistent basis. Knowing he was not in a career position, Sanford took the news of the layoff well and saw it as an opportunity to better his life.

S. Boulden

Sanford took the news of a layoff well and saw it as an opportunity to better his life.

Invited to the workshop, Proteus staff presented the National Farmworker Jobs Program and Sanford was immediately interested. Working closely with a case manager after he was admitted into the NFJP, a plan to find Sanford full-time employment was put into place. As life often does, obstacles arose in making this transition more challenging than originally planned. A shoulder injury prevented Sanford from pursuing employment until he was completely healed and could attend work regularly. Having no income and no job, Proteus was able to provide Sanford the short-term financial assistance needed to keep his bills from piling up. In addition, Sanford’s case manager kept his spirits high and his goals obtainable.

Sanford recuperated and accepted a position with Infinity as a call center representative. Working as a team member and receiving a steady income was just what Sanford needed in his life. Seeking a new opportunity, Sanford was able to receive aid from Proteus in updating his resume. He was offered a position at Safelite in a location much closer to his home. Being presented with daily challenges keeps Sanford interested in his work.

Now earning $13 an hour and enjoying his career, Sanford knows he can count on receiving consistent pay. A little help from Proteus ensured Sanford an unproblematic transition to a life of sustainability.

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Dream Becomes Reality

Student completes heavy equipment operator program


Alison Mahoney-Doran

Alison Mahoney-Doran is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Since his youth, Seth Schroder dreamed of working with heavy machinery and equipment. His interest continued even after high school. Once he graduated he realized his passion could become reality thanks to a school in Wisconsin, Associated Training Services. ATS is a heavy equipment operator program that offers classroom instruction and in-seat operation experience.


Seth completed his training with ATS and received his diploma as an equipment operator.

Students like Seth learn to operate equipment such as backhoes, excavators, bulldozers, road graders and all-terrain forklifts, giving them first-hand training and experience. Proteus was able to make Seth’s dreams possible because of the seasonal farm work he had done as a youth.

At Clarksview Farms in Neola, Iowa, Seth planted, cultivated and harvested field crops, and baled hay. His farm work qualified him for the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

Seth completed his training with ATS and received his diploma as an equipment operator. He is working for Midwest Excavating Services, LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, where he earns a living wage.

His education, training and new career were made possible because of the National Farmworker Jobs Program and support from Proteus.

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Welcome Nebraska Case Manager


Erika Guerrero is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

Erika Guerrero joins team


Erika Guerrero has joined the Proteus staff in Nebraska. She is located in the Scottsbluff office.

Erika was previously employed with Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska where she managed the Minority Health Initiative Program for two years. Prior to that, Erika managed a bilingual Valley Bank and Trust Co. bank branch for 10 years.

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