EPIC participant, Corey, came to Catholic Charities in July of 2017. He had several challenges growing up and experienced many gang influences, Corey felt as though he was doomed to a life of despair. After he became involved in a 12-step program, offered through the EPIC program, things began to change. He studied every night for his Professional Effectiveness Training, participated in training and was intent on learning the material. His persistence paid off, as his pre-test score on Employment Training was 40%, and his post-test score was 92%. Corey successfully passed the written and practicum tests for his forklift certification and worked diligently at the WIC Warehouse for his On the Job Training (OJT).
Upon completion of OJT, he went directly to the Career Navigator system for support with interviewing skills, resume writing, and learning how to apply for jobs. Three weeks after he completed OJT, he started his first permanent full-time job at Koch Foods. The position at Koch Foods offers a raise, health care insurance, vacation and sick days after completion of a 90 days probation period. Corey enjoys his new job.
Sheila is a 48-year-old single mother with four children ages 9 to 27. She graduated high school in June 1988 and received a food service and sanitation certification and a certificate of completion for the janitorial training. Since 2011, Sheila has found herself struggling to find new employment working various seasonal jobs but struggled to make ends meet. Consequently, Sheila requested public assistance though her local DHS office. Once there, she was introduced to a random selection program that offered employment trainings. Sheila entered the lottery and later learned that she was selected to receive training. The Basic Nurses Assistant (BNA) Training Program offered at Instituto was one of the training options available.
Sheila chose the BNA program offered through Instituto’s Carreras en Salud. Unfortunately, her Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) Score did not meet the requirement for enrollment in the BNA program. Sheila met with her Academic Advisor about the Healthcare Career Pathway and the classes she would need to take prior to enrolling in the BNA program. Sheila decided she would apply herself to her studies to gain the reading and math skills necessary to qualify for admission to the program. Sheila began her Pre-BNA class in the Summer of 2017. By the end of the 16 week course she had increased her reading comprehension skills from a 9.1 to an 11.1 grade level, and from a 7.6 to a 10.1 grade level in math. These scores granted Sheila admission to the BNA training she had initially planned on enrolling in. Sheila joined the Fall 2017 BNA Training Cohort.
The BNA training program was more challenging than Sheila had imagined. However, she did not get discouraged. She attended tutoring services religiously and without complaint even when childcare issues arose. Sheila’s dedication paid off as she was able to increase her quiz score averages to a passing grade. Even when she no longer needed tutoring, she still attended sessions until the very last week. Just when things seemed to be going well for Sheila, a delicate health issue arose in her family. Sheila used her inner strength to get her through this difficult situation and graduated on November 22, 2017, and is registered to take her state certification test on January 19th, 2018.
Sheila is looking forward to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to secure full-time employment in the near future. Sheila is eager to apply the skills she learned in the BNA training program by providing care to her ill father at home. Unfortunately, the other relative who fell ill during her enrollment in the program passed away while she was taking her final test. This event increased Sheila’s interest in working to provide the best care. Instituto’s staff is proud of Sheila’s accomplishment and commend her for demonstrating her strength of character and ability to maintain her composure even in the most distressful situations. Sheila is on the path to a bright future in the healthcare field.