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HPOG Success Story: Pam at Schenectady County Community College

Published: December 13, 2018
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

A photo of Pam at Schenectady County Community CollegeSchenectady, NY

The challenges of today prepare us for tomorrow, while the promise of tomorrow can propel us through the present. For many working, single mothers, the promise of something better is a source of inspiration and resiliency through tough times.

For women like Pam Goberdham, HPOG represents an opportunity to turn dreams deferred into opportunity realized.

Originally from Guyana, South America, Pam moved to Brooklyn in 1993 where her hopes for a new, invigorating, and exciting lifestyle were soon fulfilled. By 1995, she was a married mom with a promising career in the insurance industry.  The fast pace of New York City life had quickly lost its luster, however, so Pam and her family traded in the big city life for the slower pace of upstate New York. By 2005, Pam was living in the town of Schenectady where she had given birth to her second child. Pam decided to put her career on hold, taking it upon herself to raise her children at home and allow her husband to financially provide for the family. Even as she settled into a domestic routine, Pam never lost sight of her future aspirations. She was sure that eventually there would be time for her to go back and start work or school, but she was going to have to wait – her family had to come first.

By 2009, Pam had a third child, but she also had a marriage that was on the rocks. After she and her husband separated, Pam was confronted with the tough realities of being a single mom.  She feared she might never get a chance to go to school to attain a degree that would allow her to support herself and her kids.

By 2015, Pam began to take control of her future again. Pam spoke with other single women in her community and learned about several resources that could help her stake a claim to a better future. The Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP) worked with Pam to help her complete a 3-week career readiness program. She then learned about the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) program at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) that offered free healthcare training to qualifying individuals. Pam met the eligibility requirements; however, as timing would have it, the very successful HPOG program at SCCC was about to come to an end after running for 5 years, and there was no word as to whether or not the program would be refunded.

With the program’s future uncertain, Pam began looking at other options while remaining hopeful that the right opportunity would present itself. In the spring of 2016, she received the phone call she had wished for; the HPOG program at SCCC had been refunded, and Pam would be able to begin class as a Certified Nurse Aide.

By the summer of 2016, Pam had completed her CNA training and was about to finish her Home Health Aide training when a whole new world of possibility opened up to her. Pam learned she would be able to take her student credits from SCCC and transfer them to the Ellis School of Nursing in Schenectady. Funding from HPOG 2.0 would support the new career pathway in nursing that she had embarked on. Pam is now well on her way to completing her RN and fulfilling her goal of working in the field of pediatrics. “I could not have done this without the support of my family.  I could not have done this without HPOG,” says Pam.

The tenacity that drove Pam through some of the darkest periods in her life now has her on the verge of realizing her dreams.

Last Reviewed: June 7, 2019