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Rose Smith’s life was at a standstill prior to entering the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult Program.

Discovering the joy of cooking for family and friends, Rose aspired to develop her talents into a career, but she didn’t have the confidence or the skill set that would allow her to make that dream a reality.

In December 2016, ready to finish her education to better herself, she sought help through the Arkansas Workforce Center at Benton. As soon as she was approved to participate in the WIOA Adult Program, she was enrolled in the Occupational Skills Training component and a Career Consultant created a plan which outlined goals for her to complete her career path in Culinary Arts.

Without delay, Rose enrolled in the UA Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts program and began working towards her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Unexpectedly, she faced multiple health challenges that threatened the possibility of earning her degree as planned. In an attempt to complete her degree on time, she worked with her instructors to make up class assignments and as a result, on June 21, 2018, she walked across the Verizon Arena stage and received her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts.

Her commitment to completing her degree has made her a role model for other students. Now, with a degree Rose hopes to inspire individuals to pursue their higher education, and she is able to move forward to seek employment or even start her own catering business.

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