A perfectionist by trait, Sheena Hennig took thin pieces of metal home to practice after her first night of training. By morning, she mastered the tool.
This was a new chapter in Sheena’s life. Enrolled in a HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) training course, she was not only learning about sheet metal and how to cut it correctly; she was learning a lot about herself.
Three months later, Sheena graduated from her job-training program and became one of the 1.7 percent of HVAC mechanics nationwide who are women. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Sheena, born and raised in Georgia, says she had a “good upbringing” and was close to her father. She married young and had three children. Ten years later, life took a drastic turn. “My dad passed away and then just a couple months later, my mom died. It felt as though the bottom dropped out,” shares Sheena. She grew depressed and withdrawn, turning to prescription drugs and other substances to cope.Her marriage suffered and she left her home, settling in Laramie, Wyo. She made very little money working minimum wage jobs that kept her barely fed. She lost her children to her now ex-husband back in Georgia. Money for housing and transportation became non-existent.
Sheena’s foggy state-of-mind, depression and substance abuse led her to make choices and decisions that landed her in trouble with the law. Sheena hit her “rock bottom” while in a state-run rehab program and living day-to-day on what she could scrape up from low paying jobs.
“When someone gets involved in the wrong things, state institutions are not very forgiving,” she explains. “Even the little things are hard to come by when there’s a paper trail of bad behavior.”
From what Sheena describes as the “Grace of God,” a good friend led her to Climb Wyoming —a job training program for single mothers.