Debra Matney dropped out of high school at age 17 to work and care for her children. At age 19, as a single mother of three, she studied for and earned her GED® test credential. Still working minimum wage jobs to support her family, Debra dreamed of furthering her education at college. Her GED® test credential opened the door for her to enroll at Southwest Virginia Community College.
In 2005, Debra graduated with honors and received her associate’s degree in human services and mental health. The same year, she was hired in a full-time position, with benefits, for the first time. Today, Debra works as a WIA Career Advisor with Clinch Valley Community Action, often serving clients who remind her of her younger self. Debra’s motto is that you don’t need to end up in the same place where you started. "Stand out," she says. "Don’t become a statistic."