Truck on Highway

Is it possible for a career or a next level job to change a person’s life? I believe so and after reading this story, you may believe it too.

About Forward Wayne County

Forward Wayne County is an organization focused on the future of Wayne County. That future has a higher median income for its residents and attracts more people to our area to enjoy a better quality of life. To bring the ideas of increased median income, talent attraction, improved housing, and enhanced amenities to life, takes time, resources, and a lot of patience.

Foward Wayne County functions as a convener and aims to bring together a variety of organizations to work collaboratively to achieve common goals that support the entire community. To make that work possible, Forward Wayne County has eight key focus areas that fall into two buckets, Our People and Our Community.

More People With Certifications and Degrees Improves The Local Economy

One key to a brighter future for Wayne County is increasing the average income of individuals and families. Essentially: helping people reach their next level job. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this goal but, in this article, I will tackle just one – increasing the percentage of residents with a certificate, certification, or degree by sharing the incredible program you have access to right now through December 31, 2020.

Many of us want more job opportunities in Wayne County but, that’s like getting the cart before the horse. Wayne County must have a high-quality talent pool to fill those high-quality jobs.

Lucky for us we have 5 local colleges and universities that work every day to connect people to careers through educational attainment – along with the dedicated staff at Wayne County’s EDC that work hard bringing high-quality jobs to our area.

Reaching Your Next Level Job Gives You More Than Just Money

I’m passionate about this topic not because it’s good for our local economy. I’m passionate about it because it’s good for the person. Reaching our next level job, our dream job, makes us happier.

Getting our dream job makes us happier. I know this is true. I’m living proof.

Joshua Lady

However, a more exciting transformation is the one I witnessed in my brother, Joshua Lady. Josh, like me and like many people in Wayne County, graduated high school then went straight to the workforce. He and his wife worked hard year after year with great companies but weren’t able to reach the income levels needed to radically change their life.

For as long as I can remember, my brother wanted to drive a semi-truck. He was the 5-year-old that packed 50 Hot Wheels trucks everywhere he went. It was his life’s dream to be the guy in the driver seat of one of those trucks. However, diagnosed early in life with a reading disability, he set his dream aside fearing he would not be able to pass the written part of CDL test.

Frustration Became Fierce Determination

Frustrated after 20 years of trying to get ahead in life, he had enough. It was time to go after his dream, tackle his fear of the driving test, and land his next level job.

I would be lying if I said he conquered the test the first round. He didn’t. He failed and tried again. Finally, in November of 2019, Josh fulfilled his boyhood dream of becoming a licensed long haul truck driver.

Did his income change? Yes. However, more importantly, he changed. He became more confident, upbeat, sociable, and positive about the future. Simply put: he is happier.

Busting The Myths That Hold Us Back

There are many myths that hold us back from pursuing our dream job. I’m here to bust those myths and show a path forward.

Myth 1: It takes four years. That depends. There are many jobs that do not require a four-year degree. For example, Medical Assistants, CDL Drivers, Web Developers, Welders, HVAC Technicians, and many more! Visit for a list. And right now, Indiana has several short certifications that can be completed by December!

Myth 2: It takes a lot of money. This one stops a lot of people but, with Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiatives there are grants available to pay for these certifications. Free training is available.

Myth 3: I won’t find a job I like. There’s a HUGE variety of jobs that are eligible for Next Level Jobs Work-ready Grant! There are jobs in construction, healthcare, business, IT, and more. You can also take some career and skills assessments to see if it’s a right fit for you.

Myth 4: I will have to go far away. Only if you consider the Northside of Richmond far away. That’s right, we are so lucky to have Ivy Tech Community College in Wayne County with sites in Connersville and Rushville. And.. don’t forget we have 4 other colleges and universities in Wayne County! IU East, Purdue Polytechnic, Earlham, Bethany Seminary and Earlham School of Religion.

Myth 5: I’m scared I won’t pass the classes. This held Josh back for years. However, the staff at all of our colleges and universities want to see you be successful. They are there for you and will help all the way.

Your Next Level Job is Waiting For You!

Let’s be honest, 2020 is the year of change and radical transformation. Now is a great time to pursue a new career and it has never been easier. So, are you ready to bust those myths and go after your next level job? GREAT! We’ve created this New Career Seekers job aid to help you get started.

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About the Author

Lauralee Hites is a guest writer for Forward Wayne County. She’s a self-described wanderlust, consulting firm owner and lifelong Wayne County resident. You can follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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