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HPOG Success Story: Jessica at Alamo Colleges District

Published: February 18, 2020
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Jessica smiles with her diplomaSan Antonio, TX

A big heart translates in any language.

Any visitor to Texas will observe the immense openness and bright optimism. It characterizes not only its landscape, but also the big hearts of its people. Jessica is an example of the tenacity and grit of an Alamo Community College District HPOG graduate.

Jessica lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a single mother to two sons. Born in Mexico, her journey has been difficult, but Jessica remained positive. She recalls, “It’s a dream to get this far in such a short time…I have never allowed my obstacles to define me or stop the person I want to become.”

Growing up, Jessica didn’t understand the consequences of taking the wrong path. She did not complete her high school education, which made things difficult for her. Despite her tough circumstances, she always gave back to her community. She regularly volunteered at the YMCA and at her children’s schools. Jessica knew deep in her heart that she desired more for her family. She wanted to be a role model for her sons.

Jessica and her children live at a San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) property, a partner of HPOG-Alamo Colleges. A manager at SAHA noticed Jessica's drive to become independent and encouraged her to attend an Alamo HPOG information session. Attending the information session motivated Jessica to get her high school diploma and enter a career in healthcare.

Jessica was accepted into the Medical Assistant HPOG program in February 2018. She had to balance completing her high school diploma at the South Texas Leadership Center and her medical assistant training at Alamo Colleges HPOG. Jessica faced a large hurdle to success in both–a language barrier.

Jessica tried to learn English by watching television. The little she picked up was not close to what she needed for her studies. Jessica had trouble comprehending the medical training material used in her studies and felt overwhelmed. “I would go out of the classroom and cry because of the stress when I could not understand. Then I would pull myself together and go back into class.” Jessica worked extra hours to improve her English skills. Jessica is grateful for to her Medical Assistant instructor who told her, “Just keep going, do not give up, just keep going!” Jessica says, “The staff at HPOG were so helpful and encouraging. I had some of the best instructors that helped me through the program. If it weren’t for them, I probably would have given up when life got in the way of my learning. They were there to encourage me, to keep trying.”

Jessica's case manager and instructors supported her during her training. They provided assistance with tuition, books, supplies, scrubs, childcare, transportation, and career services. Thanks to the funding and support from HPOG Jessica received her High School Diploma on July 26, 2018. She passed her Medical Assistant National Career Association Board Exam at the end of that same year. In January of 2019, she attended the ceremony for Alamo Colleges fall graduates as a Certified Medical Assistant.

Less than a month after the ceremony, Jessica accepted a position at an OBGYN clinic and makes $13.00 an hour, almost double her previous wage. Alamo Colleges HPOG supported her employment success via interview skills practice, resume building assistance, and the confidence she developed throughout her training program. HPOG gave Jessica an opportunity to grow professionally in a medical field.

Jessica looks back, “Before HPOG, I never believed I would get this far. I will continue my education to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse and I will buy a house for my family.” Jessica is proud to be a role model for her sons and is thankful for the amazing change in her life. Jessica’s words of encouragement to other HPOG participants are to always, “Trust in yourself and believe in yourself.”

This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: February 18, 2020