The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services serves Minnesotans in all 87 counties and 11 tribes. More than one million Minnesotans receive some sort of help from our department. Among these are our grandparents, neighbors, friends, relatives and classmates.
Many of the people we serve only need assistance for a short period of time, while others need longer-term assistance. At DHS our goal is to meet people where they are at, and focus on outcomes to improve life situations, and to get people the help they need so they can reach their full potential.
Here is one of their stories:
Olga gathered her courage, took control and now is caring for others in a career that helps her and her husband support their five young children.
As a high school senior, Olga along with her Ukrainian immigrant parents and siblings moved within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. In the school transfer, she lost two academic credits, which left her short for graduation. Soon she married and started a family. They were receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and struggling financially when Olga decided she needed to transform her anger over not having graduated and constructively set goals for herself.
She enrolled in Metro North Adult Basic Education (ABE), a free program that helps adults develop basic skills and earn their high school diplomas. In just two months, Olga completed her studies and got her GED. “Once I put my mind to it, I finished as fast as I could by taking night classes, testing out and developing my portfolio,” she said. Olga’s ABE instructor called her a model student and encouraged her to pursue her goal of becoming a medical assistant.
The instructor introduced Olga to the Anoka County Health Care Pathways program. The program is part of Minnesota FastTRAC (Training, Resources and Credentialing), an innovative collaboration among state, local and national partners including the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which has funded it since 2011. FastTRAC is demonstrating effectiveness in improving educational outcomes by:
Via FastTRAC, hundreds of students are enrolled throughout the state in one of 34 different training paths to careers that pay a living wage.
The initiative prepares individuals to succeed in high demand, well-paying careers. Minnesota FastTRAC has helped close the workforce skills gap and meet the needs of employers.
Olga’s experience caring for her brother before he died from cancer inspired her and she got excited about her future. Her mother helped with child care and her family supported her. Clinical courses gave Olga the hands-on contact she missed having with her brother, and patients energized her. Working through the Nursing Assistant Certificate program, Olga finished in just three months, received her license, immediately accepted an offer to work in a group home and has since moved on to a home health position at Allina.
Olga said she has never been happier. The Anoka Healthcare Nursing Pathways Program opened many doors for her that she would never have had the courage or resources to open on her own. “My teachers stood by my side. They prepared me and didn't let me fail,” said Olga.
She encourages others to set goals and reach them through FastTRAC. “I am so grateful to the people who helped me at Metro North ABE and the Pathways Program,” commented Olga. “Now I'm helping others and, by caring for people, I am finding that I am getting the care I need back.”