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Before he discovered the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Buffalo Visit disclaimer page program at Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Inc., Jacob considered himself a typical example of the working class poor. He lived paycheck to paycheck, working dead-end jobs with no direction. At the end of the day, he barely made enough money to support himself. While he received Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits, he made too much to qualify for food stamps. Times were difficult for Jacob and he desperately wanted to make a change in his life.

During an appointment at the Women, Infants, & Children office, Iris came across a flyer for San Jacinto College’s Health Career Pathways Partnership Visit disclaimer page (HCPP) and saw an opportunity to become a registered nurse. HCPP offered free healthcare tuition and support services to help her succeed in a new career.

Autumn experienced hardships until the Work Attributes Toward Careers in Health (WATCH) Visit disclaimer page program gave her the support she needed to become self-sufficient.

Amy is no stranger to struggle. Over the past thirty years she fought a long, painful battle with alcoholism and dependency. She struggled with homelessness, battled cancer, and at her lowest point, was incarcerated for four years. Her life lacked stability, purpose and direction. Having lost everything at the age of 50, she needed to confront the harmful patterns in her life. “I had to break down every inch of my soul to find the strength to dig into the very roots of my self-destruction,” she recalls. She knew the road to recovery and self-realization would not be an easy one, but she was determined and excited to begin the journey.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Veasia could no longer afford to live in her neighborhood due to gentrification. She was serving in the US Army as a diesel mechanic and had just gone through a divorce. She moved to Albany, NY to serve as a caregiver for her sick grandmother. Shortly after the move, Veasia was scheduled to deploy to Iraq when she found out she was pregnant with triplets Veasia did not know how she would be able to raise three children without the help of her now ex-husband.

As a single mother of two, Shawna relocated her family from Michigan to Washington state in 2017. With help from nearby relatives, Shawna moved in with her aunt in search of a fresh start in a new city.

Shawna visited the Renton Community Service Office to begin the process of transferring her Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from out of state. During the meeting with her TANF case manager, Shawna expressed her interest in dentistry and completing her high school degree. Shawna’s case manager knew the Health Workforce for the Future (HWF) Visit disclaimer page program run by the Workforce Development Council of Seattle - King County would be a perfect fit for her. HWF supports progress toward economic self-sufficiency for low-income residents of the Seattle-King County area by offering tuition for healthcare training and support services.

Evelyn, a single mother of four children, found a new direction for her life after she lost her job. Facing unemployment, she refused to let a temporary setback prevent her from providing for her family. Evelyn and her family were living in public housing when she was fired. At the time, she was enrolled in the San Antonio Housing Authority’s (SAHA) Family Self-Sufficiency program. Evelyn explained her situation to the property managers and they referred her to an Alamo Colleges District Health Profession Opportunity Grants (Alamo HPOG) Visit disclaimer page information session. As soon as Evelyn learned about Alamo HPOG and the support offered by the program, she knew she had found her calling. Her journey to self-fulfillment and financial independence had begun.

A member of the Spirit Lake tribe, Margo spent much of her early life on the reservation working odd jobs to provide for herself and her family. During this time, she worked in customer service, early childhood education, and administration. She was content in these jobs but always wanted to return to school and earn a degree in a field that appealed to her.