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McHenry County Workforce Network

Meet Martin

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Workforce Challenge

Martin is a graphic artist with 30 years experience in the field. Over that period, he'd experienced several layoffs, and although he'd been able to find new jobs, each time it happened the jobs seemed to be lower-profile -- meaning that the pay and position in the company were less senior. After his last layoff, when he attempted to find a new job, he was told he was "over-qualified." "Nobody would hire me," said Martin.

Workforce Solution

Martin decided to start his own business. In researching, he realized that the field of graphic arts had evolved beyond print media and into web design. He had worked exclusively in publishing and printing and lacked the internet and web design skills needed to be marketable either as an employee or an entrepreneur.

Through the McHenry County Workforce Network, Martin qualified for a Trade Adjustment Act grant to pursue continuing education in his field, with case management funded by WIA. Through the program, he took classes in web design & web animation software at a private computer school, where he quickly gained the skills and knowledge he needed. "It was great, because I didn't feel at 46 years of age that I had 2 years to 'give up' by going to a state college," said Martin.

Outcomes & Benefits

While still collecting unemployment insurance, Martin freelanced and took any work that came his way. Then he joined a local business networking group through the Chamber of Commerce, which brought him many referrals and gave him a sense of being part of a business team and the community. Martin shared, "The work I started doing has been blooming into more and more referrals, and now I am entirely self sufficient in my own graphic arts business." Congratulations, Martin!

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