Student Testimonials

What our students are saying

Travis Moore

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Travis is a WTA graduate from 2015 who went through our transportation (CDL) program and worked in the industry for several years before coming full circle back to DMACC as a CDL instructor.

Travis Moore and DMACC's President Denson stand next to a DMACC truck

“I was at a crossroads and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a lot of personal things going on and I started asking myself, “What could I do long-term where I could make a decent living for my family and that I’d enjoy doing?” I left a job where I had reached every goal–there weren’t more opportunities for me to grow. I’ve always been fascinated with trucks and how they move.

I attended an orientation at DMACC’s Transportation Institute and heard about the Workforce Training Academy and how they would pay for my training. At first, the process seemed kind of confusing and it felt like it was going to take a long time. Then I realized that if someone was going to pay my tuition, they needed to make sure that I was a good fit for the funding and the training. I realized that the process was a valuable part of knowing that I was a good fit!

Besides learning the skills, the most important part of the program was the relationships that were developed during my journey. There are people here that cared about me. That was one of the first times I had experienced that. This program helped me to grow in so many different ways outside of just the training.”

Victoria GutierrezVictoria Gutierrez

Dog Grooming

Victoria is a WTA dog grooming graduate opening her own business in Highland Park (Des Moines, IA) called Grooming by Victoria where she will offer her services with a bilingual background (specializing in both English and Spanish) to help serve the local community.
“My experience with DMACC’s Workforce Training Academy was truly life-changing! Although I knew I wanted to be a dog groomer - I didn’t know how big of an impact earning a certificate was going to make. I’m 2 years into dog grooming & recently opened my own dog grooming studio, built an amazing clientele base, & connected with other groomers/business owners in ways I didn’t know was possible. I 100% recommend WTA to anyone wanting to find not just a job, but a life-long passion.”

Arminta Damken-NavarroArminta Damken-Navarro

Administrative Support Specialist (ASP)

While in foster care, Arminta received supports through YSS (Youth and Shelter Services) who helped connect her with the Workforce Training Academy’s Administrative Support Specialist Program. After completing her training with WTA, she has since started a career at YSS in the AMP program, assisting youth who are transitioning into the adult world. Arminta firmly believes that education is the path to success stating, “The Workforce Training Academy has given me opportunities that I never would have thought possible. My professor was great and very understanding. The classroom setting was small and personable which allowed me to learn more information faster. Now I am continuing to work for a great company, continuing my education, and being offered more opportunities for my job and potential future jobs.”

Milo Standing

IT Helpdesk Fundamentals

Meet Milo, a Workforce Training Academy IT Helpdesk graduate who has found success in the information technology industry and a rewarding career. Learn about Milo's experience.

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 ReinekeImma 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 TrotterAaron 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 taking 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."​

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