Mari Kay-Nabozny

Mari Kay-Nabozny


Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

Ashland, WI USA

You only get so much time, so make the best that you can with the time that you have.


My road in life has been direct.
I grew up in the small town of Ashland, Wisconsin.
In high school, I spent four months as a foreign exchange student in Italy—this transformative experience pushed me towards wanting to pursue international business.
I went to St. Norbert College for international relations but realized that the school and major were not right for me—I ended up graduating from Northland College with a degree in outdoor education.
I spent a few months after college exploring the national parks in the West.
When I got home, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in parks and recreation management.
I started working for a workforce development organization after graduate school, where I helped coordinate and manage a high school summer camp program.
I’ve spent 22 years with the organization and currently run the workforce development board as CEO.
Keep following my journey


High School
Outdoor Education
Northland College
Parks & Recreation Management
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus



I run a workforce development board, which helps connect people to work and work to people.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

There isn't a direct educational path into workforce development. I think the closest degree would probably be in social work because the job is essentially about helping people. I also recommend finding a volunteer position or an internship with a community organization that interests you. This is a great way to see what kinds of career pathways are available in an area that interests you.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Outdoor Education
Parks & Recreation Management


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Why did you stay in your tiny, rural hometown? Why did you take that job? Why didn't you leave?"

Challenges I Overcame

Changed Major
Work Stress