HANDS ON: Dislocated worker pursues dream, entrepreneurship

#WIAworks

Former bookkeeper realizes dream as licensed massage therapist through workforce training

After a lifetime of working behind a desk, Lisa Logan followed her dream to work with her hands. In September 2013, Lisa was laid off from her career of nearly 20 years as a bookkeeper. She decided to pursue her dream of becoming a massage therapist.

Just two weeks after she lost her job, Lisa enrolled in courses at Florida School of Massage. After an intensive six-month program, Lisa graduated as a licensed massage therapist and three months later opened the doors to Lake Area Massage and Hydrotherapy.

“The feeling is still very new to me,” Lisa said. “I’m getting paid to do something I love and help people.”

Lisa credits the quick transition to timing, perseverance and the help of CareerSource North Central Florida. As a dislocated worker, she qualified for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program, offering employability and training services to assist eligible individuals find and qualify for meaningful employment.

WIA creates a comprehensive workforce development system based on a three-tier approach to the provision of employment and training services: core services, intensive services and training services. Workers like Lisa who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own may be eligible for assistance through the Dislocated Worker program. In addition to helping with training fees, CareerSource NCFL was able to provide Lisa with necessary equipment, including her massage table.

“CareerSource North Central Florida helped me with the burden of finances. They made it easier for me to pursue this dream,” Lisa said. Through WIA, CareerSource NCFL provided partial tuition fees for Lisa to attend school and become licensed.

Lisa first dreamt of being a massage therapist five years ago after her first massage. She called the encounter miraculous and knew she wanted to help people the same way. Inspired by her experience, Lisa looked into training but the time and monetary expenses were too much while she continued to work full time.

“I put my dream on hold, but every once in a while I would look into it again,” she said. “I saw Florida School of Massage had started offering financial aid, but the classes were from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. every day.”

When she was laid off, Lisa decided to take her future into her own hands with the support of Florida School of Massage and CareerSource NCFL. After graduation, Lisa felt a new sense of empowerment. She rented a cabin in Melrose, Fla., that she had been eyeing since first enrolling in classes. “I’ve always wanted my own business, and I’ve tried my hand in so many things,” she said. “If that place is still abandoned when I graduate, I promised myself I’m going to get it.”

It was. Lisa saw the perfect place to provide hydrotherapy and massage therapy, but the building needed work. She began renovations immediately from painting to laying new flooring throughout to installing a shower and sauna.

Lisa revamped the building and her career by diving hands first into pursuing her dream of helping others. Introducing clients to the benefits of massage and making an absolute and noticeable difference in clients’ pain levels has been the most rewarding part of her journey. The secret to chasing opportunities is putting in the effort, Lisa advises other job seekers.

Years of dreaming and months of training have prepared her for this new adventure. With support through CareerSource NCFL, Lisa received the training, equipment and encouragement to deliver Lake Area Massage and Hydrotherapy’s promise, “Feel better in one hour!”