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Achieving a dream…Alina Marie Davenport

Alina Marie Davenport and her grandfather at her HiSED Graduation

Alina Marie Davenport and her grandfather at her HiSED Graduation

TAMA – As a single mother to her daughter, it has always been Alina Marie Davenport’s dream to go back to school and graduate. “I wanted to be a great role model for her, but always found myself working,” says Davenport. “It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son that I finally put my foot down and decided to find a way.”

“Luckily, I met Rebecca Hasset of Iowa Works (Iowa Valley) and through the WIOA’s (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act) Work Experience Program, I was able to get help with what I needed, from books to child care,” states Davenport. She registered for the HiSED Program at Iowa Valley Education and Training Center (Tama County) while she was pregnant with her son. “It wouldn’t be long before my son would make his arrival so I strived to graduate fast, but I also needed good scores,” says Davenport. “I did have my struggles with some subjects. My instructors, Ricarda Drummer and Christine Eige, knew my goals and helped me reach them. With all the help and motivation, it didn’t take long before I found myself getting ready to walk across the stage, along with great scores and a perfect score in Language Arts Reading!”

The WIOA Work Experience Program is designed to help youth and young adults reach their education and career goals and also help the participants get the job experience they need to enter the workforce with success. It also provides them the financial help to defray necessary educational and other expenses. Davenport had paid internships at the IowaWorks office for customer service, tutored at Iowa Valley Education and Training Center (Tama County), and assisted with a Summer Youth Internship for IowaWorks’ Limelight Leadership Academy. In addition, while she was attending school and doing her work experiences, the program was able to reimburse her gas and childcare expenses, pay for her job clothing, finance a car repair, and provide monetary incentives for perfect attendance to complete HiSED.

“I began to contemplate how to further my education and what I would major in,” states Davenport. “I found a love for so many new things at this point in my journey, including public speaking after speaking for WIOA, tutoring, and helping others. Yet, it was the little push from my grandfather that caused me to enroll into my first semester of college.” Davenport spoke at three different events where she shared her story, one of which was during the National Conference for Workforce Professionals.

“Alina and I met often so I could offer career guidance and help her make educational decisions for her future. While she has had some major accomplishments, she also had her fair share of setbacks and struggles,” states Rebecca Hassett, the WIOA Supervisor. “During those times, the WIOA program was able to step in and help out. It’s a program that requires commitment from the participant but can help with so many employment and educational barriers. I am so proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to see where her journey takes her. One of the beauties of the WIOA program is that I can continue working with Alina and help her reach her goals through college and getting her dream job.”

“Although I am still not entirely sure what my major will be, I plan on attending college until I graduate with a Liberal Arts degree from Marshalltown Community College,” says Davenport. “From there, I plan on attending a bigger university. My grandfather was there when I walked across the stage when I graduated with my HiSED. Even though he won’t be there when I graduate from MCC, I know how proud he would be to have seen me once again walk across the stage.”

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