Personal growth, development helped turn things around for former TANF recipient

It has been said that brilliant opportunities are disguised as impossible situations. This holds true for Yukarie Harrison, whose journey toward self reliance was filled with many personal and societal obstacles.  

When opportunity came knocking, Harrison was eager to jump at the chance to better herself by enrolling in the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County Health Careers for All. She was excited about the possibilities presented to her in the Medical Business Information Technology (MBIT) training and had well-considered plans for her future.  

Although her future looked bright, Harrison's past put her as a questionable prospect for training completion and subsequent employment.  

Harrison was 22 years old at the time of enrollment, had a family background of long-term reliance on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), marginal CASAS scores, and a scattered work history.  She also struggled to adopt a professional demeanor. Her mother’s chronic illness had required her to withdraw from several training programs to care for younger siblings.  To her credit, Harrison continued to seek training opportunities.

In the final days of the MBIT pre-training, Harrison's conduct issues almost cost her place in the MBIT class.  Her entrance scores were just adequate.  She was admitted, but issues about professionalism continued through the first quarter.  The dedicated and engaged team of instructors voiced their concern.  When the team members spoke with her, she listened and said she wanted to improve. Her academic progress continued.

At the end of the first quarter, Harrison showed her transformation in her final presentation. She delivered her report without reacting to negativity from the group.  She completed the first quarter work.

Her second quarter internship placement was with a local senior services organization.  It proved to be a difficult assignment and included interaction with at least one abusive, potentially dangerous client at the organization.  Harrison was miserable, but decided to stay and not accept her internship instructor’s offer to move her.  At the celebration luncheon at the end of class, she talked about her decision to complete her internship at the senior services organization despite the obstacles. Harrison agreed when one of her classmates candidly offered that the experience was exactly what she needed.

Two weeks after her internship ended, Harrison was offered the position of Donation Coordination Assistant at the organization, working in a different department, under a different supervisor.  This was a part-time, temporary position, but after successfully completing two months on the job she was offered and accepted a full-time permanent position with benefits and has received at least one significant raise in the six months since.  She’s decided to continue training, with HCA’s assistance, in the healthcare field.