SkillUP Success Stories: Carol Blackwell

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March 10, 2022

SkillUP Success Stories

Carol Blackwell

Carol Blackwell: 
Thankful and Blessed

A stay-at-home mother for over 17 years, Carol Blackwell was transitioning into the workforce and knew it wouldn't be easy, but she never gave up on her goal of becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and SkillUP was able to help.

A SNAP (Food Stamp) recipient since May of 2018, Carol worked with her SkillUP Service Specialist at the Rolla Job Center and together they created an employment plan. When developing this plan, a few barriers were identified, one of which was the cost of tuition. Assistance from SkillUP covered her tuition which allowed Carol to focus more on her studies.

SkillUP was also able to help Carol get new tires for her vehicle and cover a month's worth of insurance. Carol and her family were very grateful for the assistance.

At one point Carol’s family income changed unexpectedly due to a medical emergency, and Carol didn’t know if she should continue on with her training. Carol’s family, friends, case manager, and teachers all encouraged her to push on.

One-by-one, Carol began to chip away at her goals, and finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She graduated from Mineral Area College with a Practical Nursing certificate and a 3.387 GPA on August 3, 2020.

Soon after completing her training, Carol gained employment as a substitute school nurse at a local school. Carol also gained employment as a charge nurse for a local nursing home. She is now pushing on and exceeding her goals by continuing her education to become a Registered Nurse!

Carol Blackwell quote

Carol gives credit to God, her family, friends, teachers, and counselors for consistently encouraging her to keep going, even when she wanted to quit. She also gives a large amount of credit to SkillUP for helping her with planning, supportive services, case management, and encouragement through her journey. Carol said, “I have had several people tell me that I inspired them to go back to school, never thinking it was possible at their age until they saw me do it. A couple of them have sent me messages that I inspired them to go for their dreams of becoming a nurse and are now in that process.”

Carol is incredibly thankful that, with the help of SkillUP, she has shown others it is never too late to accomplish your dreams.

When asked what she would tell someone about SkillUP, she replied, “I would tell them to definitely explore SkillUP’s program. It is worth it when you are trying to invest in yourself to make a better life for you and your family. I don't see it as a handout, but a hand up as you climb your way to a better life.”

The SkillUP program is Missouri’s employment and training program for Food Stamp (SNAP) recipients. The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. The program is also funded through the Administration for Children and Families, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.

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