WDI Success Story: From COVID to CLIMB: A Self-Employment Success Story

Tracy Bjerke of Owatonna had been working as a registered dietician at Hy-Vee when she was laid off in early 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tracy had been working at Hy-Vee for a little over 7 years before she was laid off, so to say that the news of losing her job came as a shock would be an understatement. However, Tracy took this news as an opportunity to reflect on where she wanted to take her career and how she could use her knowledge and expertise in nutrition and wellness to improve the lives of the members of her community.

Tracy decided that she would dive head-first into starting her own intuitive eating and nutrition counseling business. Her goal would be to help individuals cultivate a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body and help clients heal their relationships with food. Tracy learned about Workforce Development and how they could help individuals who had recently been laid off from their job. Tracy was connected with a Career Planner who introduced her to the Converting Layoffs Into Minnesota Businesses (CLIMB) program designed to help entrepreneurs in Minnesota start their own business.

Now, almost one year after enrolling in the CLIMB program through Workforce Development, Tracy has launched her own private practice, Bjerke Nutrition and Wellness, LLC. Tracy hit the ground running – networking in her local community, presenting to local Rotary chapters, attending Owatonna Business Women’s presentations, and even starting a monthly segment on KOWZ radio to spread the word about her services. Her success quickly became recognized in the community and Tracy’s story was featured on an ABC 6 News story about finding career success amid the pandemic. You can view Tracy’s story here: Southeast Minnesota non-profit connects people with new jobs | KAALTV.com

“Workforce Development has been a valuable resource for me as I have navigated starting my private practice,” Bjerke told her Career Planner at Workforce Development. While starting a business in the middle of a pandemic is no easy feat, Tracy is optimistic about the opportunities coming her way: “I am really hopeful about the future of my business but know it will take time. I am saying yes to every opportunity I can afford!”

To learn more about Tracy’s business, Bjerke Nutrition and Wellness, LLC, visit her website at: https://bjerkenutritionandwellness.com/.

Submitted by Cassie Wessing, Dislocated Worker Career Planner


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