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Lisa Miksa

Lisa Miksa JVS Adult Career Center Helps Student Redefine Her Career Goals

Lisa Miksa, Computerized Business Technology, Class of: 2001
There are defining moments in everyone’s life, some expected, some unexpected.

One of these unexpected moments happened for Lisa Miksa when she learned she was pregnant. She was only 17 years old and still in high school. She graduated early from Lorain’s Admiral King High School in 1998, but had to tuck away her dreams of playing college softball. Instead she got a minimum wage job working in the floral department of a grocery store.

“I quickly realized I wasn’t going anywhere,” said Miksa, now 24, a single parent, finishing her work as a paralegal and on her way toward becoming a corporate lawyer. “I was never one to settle.”

But another unexpected moment happened when a catalog arrived in her mailbox. This is when Miksa began to redefine her life.

The mailing from the Lorain County JVS Adult Career Center prompted her to enroll in the Computerized Business Technology Program in the fall of 2000.

“I opened the catalog and thought it was for high school kids, until I saw the words Adult Career Center,” said Miksa. A financial counselor in the Adult Career Center helped her apply and receive a Federal Pell grant to cover the cost of the training, and she was on her way.

At the Adult Career Center she found herself the youngest among many others who had lost jobs or were changing the direction of their lives.

Over the course of nine months and 900 hours, Miksa was immersed in a comprehensive office training program that prepares students for careers as administrative assistants, word processing specialists, office support staff and clerical secretaries.

“My teacher, Terri Brennan, was very thorough and very patient,” said Miksa. “She taught me so much and I am so grateful.”

Just going to school again gave Miksa’s self esteem a much needed boost. “In high school, I couldn’t wait to get out,” she recalled. “It’s hard to believe now I actually want to go to law school.”

As Miksa learned new skills at the JVS, she began expecting more of herself too. “I doubted my abilities and the teachers and others at the JVS helped build up my character and self esteem,” she said. “The Adult Career Center was very effective in helping me network and arrange job interviews too.”

She discovered she enjoyed the daily drive from Lorain to the JVS. Even today she said she feels a fondness when driving by the school. “It seems like it will take you forever to get there, but it’s really just short ride down Route 58.”

“I’d recommend the JVS Adult Career Center to everyone,” Miksa said. “I felt like I had no direction, but once I starting my training at the JVS, it gave me hope and helped me believe that I wasn’t going to be dependent on assistance and my family for the rest of my life. Once the JVS helped point me in the right direction, my career took off.”

In nine short months Miksa had completed her coursework and graduated. “They even had a nice graduation ceremony for us to recognize our accomplishments. This helped build up our confidence and let our families share in our success,” she said.

“I knew I wanted to work with a lot of different types of attorneys and as fate would have it, my dream job appeared,” said Miksa who has been working with the Avon law firm of Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista since June of 2001.

She started in transcription and began working her way toward becoming a paralegal. In addition to working full time, Miksa is completing her bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies this fall from Myers University in Cleveland.

Attorney John Rybarczyk is Miksa’s immediate supervisor and only has great things to say about her work at Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista.

“Lisa always takes it upon herself to ‘go over and above’ what’s expected,” confirmed Rybarczyk. “She’s very motivated and was promoted to a Paralegal in the Business Organization and Tax Department of our firm in less than four years. This promotion normally is a much longer process, but Lisa is very efficient and stayed focused on the task at hand.”

When she’s not at the office, she’s the mother of an active 6-year-old daughter. She lives in Lorain, works hard to put her daughter in private school and wants to buy a house in the very near future.

“My parents are proud of me,” she said. “They know I work hard everyday and that I want to advance my career. And I’m doing it all for my child. She has definitely motivated me.”

A bundle of joy can bring with it a bundle of changes that can often lead to new choices and opportunities. Reflecting on the path her life has taken, Miksa is grateful. “I wouldn’t have had any of this if I hadn’t gone to the JVS Adult Career Center and had the help of my family.”

As you can clearly see, Lisa Miksa is still redefining her life while not settling for anything but the best for herself and her daughter.

For more information on the Computerized Business Technology Program, or other training opportunities available through the Adult Career Center at the Lorain County JVS, contact their offices at 440-774-1051 or 440-986-6601, ext. 250.
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