Ariel Bolden has clear goals for her family’s future and the determination to achieve them. “My vision is to be financially well off,” she says. “I want to purchase my own home. I want to be able to take more trips with my daughter. It’s a secure future . . . I feel like that’s everyone’s goal.”

A student in WMCAT’s tuition-free Adult Career Training Program, Ariel is on her way to a new career that will support her goal of economic security. She’s taking her experience as a certified nursing assistant — along with her love of helping others — and applying it to a future as a pharmacy technician.

But despite her personal drive and dedicated studies, Ariel has encountered unexpected barriers to reaching her dream job, including a car accident in November that impacted her physically and financially. “It’s been a lot of hard times for me,” she says.

Ariel with her partner James and their six-year-old daughter Ja’Sia. Ariel describes her daughter as “a mini-me.”

Ariel knew she could lean on WMCAT. The journey to economic security is complicated, so the Adult Career Training Program provides not only the professional instruction to learn a new career, but also the holistic supports needed to navigate unforeseen circumstances, provide mental and emotional bandwidth during transition, and invest in individuals’ agency in their own lives.

As part of the Adult Career Training Program kickoff, Ariel presents a poster to fellow students sharing her goals and values.

Left without reliable transportation and unable to work, Ariel turned to the stipend she received as a WMCAT student to help her while recovering; she also knew she had access to the student emergency fund should she need it.

“The money that [WMCAT] gave us was like something to have us breathe a little bit — like, okay, it’s not over. You know things are getting tough, but this is going to help . . . that’s awesome.” Barriers can derail the journey to a new career — but Ariel will graduate in June, ready to become a pharmacy technician. Her vision for her family is her guide, and she can continue to count on WMCAT to support her next steps.

“I love that about WMCAT. There’s a lot of things that they’ve helped me do outside of [class] for my personal life, that helped me accomplish some things that I would’ve never thought I could’ve.”Learn more at