In November 2013, Catrina came to the Southland Health Care Forum (SHCF), a Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) program funded by the Office of Family Assistance, after experiencing a number of set-backs in her life. Her contentious divorce just finalized, she was in danger of losing her home and had not worked in four years. Catrina faced the daunting task of rebuilding her life and becoming self-sufficient.
Catrina’s SHCF case manager worked with her to assess past educational achievements, current skills and vocational interests. This assessment indicated that Catrina had multiple barriers to employment, but had strong interest and aptitudes in the health care field. With the support and encouragement of a friend who had participated in a SHCF training program, Catrina enrolled in the Medical Assistant Program.
Catrina showed great enthusiasm and was ready for the challenges of learning new skills through SHCF’s program. SHCF’s support services were instrumental to Catrina’s success. Their assistance with transportation, work clothing, books and supplies as well as work documents ensured Catrina’s completion of the program. Another key to her success was the support and encouragement she received from SHCF’s staff and instructors. Her SHCF support team was in regular, daily contact, recognized and resolved problems and were available at all times. This staff support continues today by email or telephone whenever the need arises.
Upon completion of the Medical Assistant Program, Catrina was referred to the Workforce Development unit to start preparation for a job search. Catrina began to receive job search assistance that included resume preparation, interviewing techniques, dress for success and job leads. Catrina obtained a position within a few weeks at a medical facility that provides supportive and recuperative care to senior citizens.
These support services provided by the HPOG program contributed to Catrina’s success. The assistance with transportation, clothing, books and supplies allowed Catrina to focus on her studies and complete the program without worrying about her basic needs. Encouragement from the SHCF support team and their daily communications also helped Catrina overcome any barriers she encountered along the path to reaching her goals. Those supports, combined with the training opportunities Catrina received through SHCF, have helped her start a new life—a life where Catrina is both self-sufficient and confident about her future. Catrina next plans to get additional training and become a certified medical assistant and to one day receive additional training to work in the electronic health records field.