Boots help people get back to work:
The Boots to Work program, offered in conjunction with the United Way Career Closet, an Emerging Leaders Project, was designed to help people get back on their feet and working after their life got turned upside down. That is exactly the lift Adam Rosenstiel needed when everything in his life seemed to change at once.
After living in the small, unincorporated town of Elmore, life’s ever-changing circumstances caused Adam to move to Rothschild. He wasn’t sure about work, only knew that he wanted to be closer to the woman that would soon become his fiancé. She said yes and they decided to make Rothschild their home. Her family had ties to the Wausau community. As if uprooting his life, moving, and getting engaged wasn’t enough, he received another surprise. They were having a baby, due at the end of June.
With a new apartment, upcoming wedding, and now a baby on the way, Rosenstiel was desperate for a job. Luckily, his future wife had a connection at J&D Tube Bender. He applied and was quickly offered a position on March 13th, ten days after relocating. He could start the next day, but there was one problem. He didn’t have steel toed boots. His final paycheck from his previous employer was still a week away and he had no spare money with all of life’s recent events.
Luckily, Lisa Felch, J&D Tube Bender Vice President of Human Resources, knew just who to call. With a strong connection to United Way, she picked up the phone and called Tara Glodowski, Associate Director of Affinity Groups, who works closely with United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Boots to Work program. Tara and Adam met that afternoon. He picked out a pair of high quality steel toed boots and started working for J&D Tube Benders the next day.
“It all happened so quick,” Rosenstiel said, describing the Boots to Work process. “There was a form to fill out at the Career Closet and Tara kept asking if I needed anything else. I was even surprised they had size 13 because I’ve had trouble finding boots that fit well in the past. They had a good selection and are just looking to help.”
That large selection is available thanks to initial funding provided by Aspirus and Ministry Health Foundations, donations from Greenheck following their casual day fundraiser, and Domtar’s drive for gently used boots. Anyone that has worked on a shop floor for 8-12 hours per day knows how important quality is when it comes to work boots. Boots to Work focuses on ensuring that all the boots they have in stock are top quality and are made to last.
“We have seen a surge in referrals this year as more service providers and human resource departments have become aware of the program and more people are needing boots. It has been a success thus far and we look forward to seeing Boots to Work grow and to continue to help people break barriers and meet their goals,” Glodowski offered, clearly proud of the success of the Boots to Work program. “With the growth, we are in need of additional boots. Donations of steel-toed boots are greatly needed and appreciated. We do accept new or gently used work boots, men’s & women’s in all sizes.”
For J&D Tube Benders, helping Rosenstiel brings the program full circle. Janet Felch, J&D Tube Benders Owner, was one of the original voices for the program as a member of the Workplace Volunteer Council. That vision became reality when Boots to Work was launched on August 16, 2016. The program helped 17 people during the months following the kick-off in 2016, and 23 people, including Rosenstiel, in 2017. Through their knowledge of the program and continuing involvement with United Way here in Marathon County, they were able help Adam when he needed it most.
“It made my relocation tons easier,” explained Rosenstiel. “I didn’t have to worry about that and it let some of the stress go. I’d recommend that others take advantage so they can get to work right away.”
Boots to Work offers one pair of steel toed boots per customer to those who need appropriate footwear to begin new employment. Although they cannot guarantee that every size or style will be available, they do offer a wide variety and selection. Individuals will need to provide proof of employment (offer letter, contract, need for steel toed footwear, etc.) and a completed voucher to obtain a pair of new or gently used boots. Vouchers expire one week from the issue date. Boots will only be redeemed to the employee and voucher holder.
The Career Closet and Boots to Work program is located at 705 S. 24th Ave. Suite 440 in Wausau. Their phone number is 715-298-5707 and they are open during the following schedule:
- Tuesdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
- Wednesdays 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
- Thursdays 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
First published in the Wausau Daily Herald on May 13, 2017