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HPOG Success Story: Sam at Pima County Community College

Published: February 5, 2020
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Sam smilesTucson, AZ

A registered nurse soars to his true potential.

At the age of 39, Sam found himself unemployed. After working for a major airline for over a decade, he was laid off. Sam felt helpless and decided to go to the Pima County One Stop for help. Sam started another job with the airline but was soon laid off again.

Sam returned to the One Stop to meet with his case manager. He was frustrated with the lack of opportunity in the airline industry, and decided it was time for a change. Sam mentioned an interest in healthcare to his case manager. She gave him information on Pima Community College's Nursing Assistant (NA) program.

Sam struggled through the NA program. He was managing academic challenges, substance abuse, and crippling financial debt.  After completing the NA program, Sam knew he wanted to progress further in the healthcare field and set his sights on the Practical Nurse (PN) program. His One Stop case manager introduced him to Pima Community College's HPOG program, HPOG Health Career Opportunities with Personalized Educational Supports (HOPES).

The HPOG HOPES grant and the benefits offered gave Sam a great opportunity. He went to an information session to learn more. He applied and was randomly selected. Sam began the Practical Nurse program at Pima Community College in the spring of 2017.

 Sam continued to struggle with personal issues including financial debt while in the PN program. He believes the supports he received through HPOG got him through. His HPOG coach helped him with admissions and financial aid. His coach also helped Sam through life events and referred him for mental health and financial counseling, including how to get out of credit card debt.

Sam participated in HPOG sponsored job fairs near the end of the PN program. The HPOG employment specialist helped Sam with his resume and mock interviews. Without HPOG, Sam believes he would still be in a dead-end job. 

In December of 2018, Sam walked across the stage at his Practical Nurse pinning ceremony. He thanked HPOG and the Pima County One Stop for all the supports he received. Sam began working at a local hospital as a Patient Care Technician shortly after graduating. Impressed with his potential, his employer insisted that Sam get his nursing license. Sam was eager to continue his healthcare journey, and enrolled in a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program.  The day Sam received his license, his manager walked him to human resources. He got a new position as an LPN and a raise. A coworker noticed Sam was wearing LPN scrubs and was motivated to go back to school for her LPN as well. Sam truly is an inspiration.

Sam now makes $36,972 as an LPN, but his journey doesn't stop there. He is continuing his education by taking courses to become a registered nurse (RN). 

Sam said, “HPOG helped me get through this journey... I was never alone.... Failure was not an option, and everyone helped me through this program. I am beyond grateful for the support everyone at HPOG has given me.”

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

Last Reviewed: February 5, 2020