Update: Jolie has since graduated from WMCAT’s Adult Career Training Program in June 2020 and passed her Pharmacy Technician certification exam. She was the first student in her graduating class to get hired. She completed all of this during Michigan’s shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic She now works in a full-time living wage career at Meijer Pharmacy.

“Personal initiative is key, but no one — despite persistent myths about bootstrapping and self-made men — does it alone. People built pathways to the middle class by pooling money, watching each others’ kids, supporting each others’ businesses, and recommending each other for jobs. This is social capital in action,” said family activist Mia Birdsong.

When you make a gift to the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, you become a vital part of this ecosystem of support for our students. At WMCAT, we are building social capital with families as they pursue income security through career training. Donors alongside our nonprofit partners and local employers, are part of that rich social capital lifting up adults on their pathways to new, living-wage careers.


Adults like Jolie.

Jolie is a student in WMCAT’s Adult Career Training Program, studying to be a pharmacy technician – a new career that will provide economic stability for her family. As a refugee, she is an English as a Second Language (ESL) student with the Literacy Center of West Michigan; and she is a mother, a wife, and a friend. In other words, she is uniquely Jolie. And WMCAT is partnering with the Literacy Center to increase her network of support.

Jolie, Baby Amelia, and her husband Martin

This summer Jolie and three fellow ESL learners worked with their Literacy Center coach, preparing specifically for WMCAT’s pharmacy technician career training class. They joined 31 other under-and-unemployed adults in WMCAT’s nationally-recognized Adult Career Training Program in September.

“This program makes me stronger,” Jolie said. “I wanted to quit on the first day … but Jamon (WMCAT program director) told me, ‘If today is too hard, tomorrow will be better.’”

When you give to WMCAT, tomorrow is better. Because you can be a part of Jolie’s social capital. You can make sure she and her fellow students have access to mentors, a literacy coach, an on-site therapist, employers, and career instructors.

Jolie and literacy coach, Vicki

Now, fully immersed in her training at WMCAT, Jolie still meets regularly with her literacy coach to ensure she is successful in preparing for her new career and a future of economic security for her family.

“I want to get a better job and then go back to school to be a pharmacist,” said Jolie. “If it gets too hard, I am going to take it. Makes me stronger, you don’t have to quit.”

Jolie will need her network of support, including you, to reach her goals and finish her journey to income security. Please make a one-time or monthly gift by December 31 so she and her fellow students are ready when their final semester at WMCAT begins on January 6.

Jolie studying in WMCAT’s Pharmacy Technician class

Then, together we can celebrate graduation and new beginnings in June. You can be a part of the network that is leading families to income security through career training at WMCAT. You can be there as the Class of 2020 walks across the stage, sharing their success.

Your gift to WMCAT builds up a system of support that includes nonprofit organizations, neighbors, employers, public servants, and families. Thank you for making your annual or monthly gift before the end of the year.

And thank you for being a part of Jolie’s WMCAT journey.