Student Testimonials

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Kevin Kurt Stenstrom

Kevin Kurt Stenstrom

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

​I wanted to have a better paying job so that I can live on my own without going into debt. I found out that I really like driving. My instructors, Jerry Hannagan and Dave Spencer helped me acquire the skills to become a professional truck driver.  I am super happy I have my CDL class A thanks to DMACC's Workforce Training Academy!​​

Katie Saravina

Katie Saravina

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

​Hello, my name is Katie Saravia. I'm 18 years old. I grew up in a Hispanic home and my first language is Spanish.  My parents were born in El Salvador and growing up they couldn't really help me as a student just because everything was so different in their country.

When I graduated I was very stressed for multiple reasons. I knew I wanted to be something in life but I had little to no funds and no motivation. I simply didn't know how to start. I found the Young Adult Program (YAP) and the Workforce Training Academy (WTA) through my counselor in high school and I began my journey to my dream career.  Nothing could have felt better. Ever since I started the program I had a huge support system. Everyone involved in the program has helped me in many shapes, ways and forms, from paying my tuition to teaching me great skills. The program has taught me how to get ready for an interview, the path to further my career, they helped me register for classes to make sure I was on the right track, WTA/YAP provided more knowledge about college, and tips on how to study. Being in the program I learned I had more potential than I ever thought. I was very determined and could do way more than I thought. After finishing my training I'm a certified nursing assistant and also have my advanced nursing aid certification. I was determined and ready for the next steps in my career. Now I'm currently doing my prerequisites for nursing at DMACC.​

Julie Bates

Julie Bates

Administrative Support Professional

I completed the Administrative Support Professional program with DMACC's Workforce Training Academy.

I had spent 30 years at the same company when I found out that my job was being eliminated. I was told I could stay on, but I would be demoted, which meant a pay cut and different hours. I had to make a decision for myself and my family, to stay and accept my new position or move on to something new. I had a little knowledge of what was needed to work in an office but knew I needed to build my skills to be able to apply for positions.

During my Administrative Support classes, I learned Microsoft Office applications. I found career readiness very helpful in building my interview skills since it has been so long since I have interviewed. These classes built my confidence that I could go back out into the workforce in a different role.

After several interviews, I was able to land an office position. Although this initially was a temporary position, the company is working on making it permanent. The skills I learned from Stacey, Sherrie and Pam helped me move forward in my career and I'm so thankful for the Workforce Training Academy.

Imma Reineke

Imma Reineke

​Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

The Young Adult Program with WTA at DMACC has helped prepare me to succeed at reaching my goals. This program funded my Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training course. Without their help, I would not have been able to get the full benefits of a 3-week course in training. DMACC provided me with organizational and professional training to prepare me for my internship interviews. The staff also helped me define my goals and write a strong resume. Because of DMACC, I was able to begin my journey with confidence, stability, and support!​

Aaron Trotter

Aaron Trotter

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Aaron Trotter's pursuit of higher education began at DMACC.  After obtaining an Associate's Degree, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in criminal justice and a Master's Degree in human services and non-profit management. For years, his career flourished.  He was a substance abuse counselor and later became the manager of operations in the same facility. 

In February 2021, he learned that he had late-stage Burkitt's Lymphoma.  The survival chances were low, but Aaron pushed forward with six rounds of intensive chemotherapy.  He was plagued with low white blood cell counts and was routinely hospitalized.  What happened next was a shock. His employer decided to terminate his position.

After taking three months off, Aaron tried something new. He was in remission and wanted to help his stepfather out with the family trucking business.  He enrolled in DMACC's CDL driving class and the rest is history.  

DMACC Transportation Institute's CDL training course is held at the school's 14-acre facility in North Des Moines. Aaron qualified for DMACC's Workforce Training Academy (WTA) tuition assistance program. WTA provides tuition assistance for thirteen certificate training programs available for students that can't devote years to the classroom. The WTA program is designed to provide short-term certificate training to help unemployed and underemployed individuals.  Many are first-generation students or lost their jobs through no fault of their own. These certificate programs do not fall under FAFSA guidelines, so the WTA program provides much-needed financial aid. 

"I couldn't have done the program without the aid," Aaron says. "I hadn't worked in over a year and I was financially broken from the cancer bills, so I needed that funding."

​In today's job market, trained truck drivers are in high demand.  WTA students are tested in-house and can obtain their CDL license quickly. “The program was flexible," he explains. “I came down with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome and Covid and they worked with me until I was cleared to resume classes."

Aaron was offered a job with Ankeny Sanitation before graduating. The small school and personable atmosphere made for great networking opportunities. Employers actively recruited Aaron and that was a wonderful feeling given the hurdles he had jumped to get back on his feet.  

Currently, he's living his dream of working in the family trucking business with the hopes of taki​ng over the management side of the company in the near future.

Aaron's wife, Mackenzie, is supportive and proud of his resilience and work ethic. “DMACC's CDL training courses did a fantastic job of preparing me for the work and even the business side of the industry," Aaron explains. “If you do the program, do the work and you want to work, you'll be employed."​