Carolyn Bogott: Christensen believes in empowerment – Austin Daily Herald
Beth Christensen believes in this quote from “Winnie the Pooh”:
“You are braver than you think, stronger than you look and smarter than you think.”
She said that’s what she wants clients of Mower and Freeborn County Workforce Development, Inc. and Pathways Home Grant offices to understand for themselves. Beth is an area manager overseeing a team of 21 people who serve approximately 2,500 people a year. Together they help a wide variety of people, from a 14-year-old who wants to find a job or explore career options, to a 55-year-old who has been laid off from the only job she has ever had and many more lives. situations between these extremes. Each of these situations can involve a variety of job search barriers, including mental health issues, domestic violence, childcare needs, and other unique factors.
One of the career planners in this office, located at Riverland Community College, has special training as an outreach specialist for our growing Southeast Asian population. In six years, about 250 people have been helped through this program.
Beth also administers the Pathways Home program for people leaving prison who need to reintegrate into society. They need a skills assessment and may need help with housing, insurance, transportation and job training before they can enter the labor market.
Beth points out that anyone can use the center’s services, whether the person is currently employed, looking for a job, or doesn’t even know what they need help with. Beyond unemployment issues, staff can help people find resources to deal with fair wage issues as well as other employment issues.
Beth was born and raised in Austin. Her time at Austin High School was enriched by music and swimming. She credits Brian Johnson and Lynn Gulbrandson for helping her learn that she could do more than she thought she could.
This philosophy is what she lives for. Beth and her husband have a foster family, three adopted children and two biological children. Obviously, his life calls for creativity and surpassing oneself in many ways!
Mike Postma, a colleague of Beth’s, said, “Beth is doing an amazing job as the Austin office manager for Workforce Development, Inc. Over the years she has written and won grants to expand our services in Austin . Thanks to his efforts, we now have programs that help train and support those interested in working in the healthcare field, such as CNAs. [Certified Nursing Assistants], public sector works like Case Aids, our Southeast Asian immigrant population, and even a general employment assistance grant funded by our friends at the United Way. She has hired and mentored many people over the years, myself included, and continually finds innovative ways to serve everyone in Mower County. Austin should be proud of the accomplishments of this talented local woman.
Thank you, Beth Christensen, for supporting so many.
For more information on the Austin branch of the AAUW, contact Sue Grove [email protected] or Carolyn Bogott [email protected] The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone with a two-year degree or longer. The AAUW welcomes men who support our goals and student memberships are available. AAUW has been empowering women since 1881. We support equity and women’s education. Scholarships are offered, as well as litigation assistance in gender discrimination cases. We are the largest and most respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and professional equality.