Shannon at Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit

Shannon smiles in her uniformMilton, PA

Your journey can take you anywhere once  you take a step in the right direction. 

Shannon was six months pregnant when she moved to the Williamsport area of Pennsylvania. She was learning to live again after surviving domestic abuse and a history of addiction and depression. Shannon lived day to day with no vision for her future.

She was staying in a recovery house, working as a waitress, making less than minimum wage, and receiving TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid benefits. As a low-income, first-time mother, she got prenatal care from the Nurse Family Partnership. One of her nurses there urged Shannon to apply to the HPOG-funded Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) WATCH Project.

Shannon wanted to go into the Healthcare field after high school but instead pursued other academic interests. The possibility of pursuing a career, not just a job, gave Shannon renewed hope. “I thought I would always have to be a waitress since it was all I knew how to do. My dreams of nursing seemed impossible.”  Acceptance into the WATCH Project was the break she needed.

Gaye Jenkins, Shannon’s Care Coordinator, used WATCH’s relationship with the Lycoming County Assistance Office to support Shannon’s request for funds to assist in a vehicle purchase. For Shannon, the car was not only a means of transportation, but a symbol of freedom and independence. It allowed her to get to her adult basic education skills courses, then her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training, as well as doctor appointments for her infant.

Upon completion of her certification, Shannon earned $11.60 an hour at Interim HealthCare as a CNA. Six months later, she accepted a full-time position as a CNA at UPMC Susquehanna in the Skilled Nursing Unit. The stability provided by reliable transportation and a steady job allowed Shannon to stop receiving cash assistance and continue her education. She worked full time until January 2018 when she decided to continue her journey and become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

With Gaye’s guidance, Shannon attended the Central Susquehanna LPN Career Center (CSLPNCC) while also working part time as a CNA. The WATCH Project provided her with money for scrubs, shoes, books, and paid a portion of the tuition for the CSLPNCC. Gaye also connected Shannon with Child Care Information Services (CCIS) and Early Head Start to ensure

she had reliable childcare options. By March 2018, Shannon was eligible for funding through the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA). She works for UPMC Susquehanna, earning $12.93 an hour while she completes the LPN program. The WATCH Project has sparked a desire in Shannon to go further.

“The options are limitless and doors are opening up for me in ways that I could never have imagined before.”

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

Shannon at Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit

February 27, 2019
Last Reviewed: February 28, 2019