The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) program provides education and training to low-income individuals so that they have access to jobs that pay well in health care. It also provides support for things like case management, child care and transportation to help them succeed in the training and secure employment. HPOG provides an opportunity but it is the students who must show the heart, determination and perseverance to succeed.
Pabitra, a native of Bhutan lived for 21 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. She lived in a hut jammed together with others, creating extremely difficult living conditions. She was surrounded by people with health issues and limited health care opportunities. Witnessing the struggles of those around her, she became a volunteer. She taught others in the camp proper sanitary procedures. This experience fueled her desire to work in the medical field. Pabitra immigrated to the United States in 2011 to fulfill this dream.
When Pabitra arrived in the United States, she received public assistance and assumed the responsibility of caring for her family. Even as she cared for her family, she continued to search for a way to fulfill her dream. Then, one day she shared her dream of working in health care with a caseworker. Her caseworker helped connect her with the New Hampshire Health Profession Opportunity Project, an HPOG grantee.
Pabitra enrolled in HPOG in July 2011. The HPOG staff worked with her every step of the way. They eliminated many challenges she faced to ensure her success. They enrolled her in English as a Second Language (ESL) and helped her with textbooks and supplies. When transportation became a challenge for attending training classes, HPOG staff registered Pabitra in a driver’s education class and assisted with mileage and vehicle registration.
After three months, Pabitra got her Nursing Assistance license and secured a position as a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA). She was excited about this accomplishment but wanted to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She worked with her career advisor to transfer her foreign credits and participated in a HPOG study group for a test required for the LPN program. Pabitra was accepted into the LPN program. It wasn’t easy. She adjusted her work schedule to accommodate her classes. Still, Pabitra graduated in 2014. Since then, she secured a full-time position making $18 an hour and benefits as a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Her income means that she and her family are more financially stable. Her employment also means that she is providing for the health care needs of people in her community. Pabitra found a path to achieving her dream with the HPOG program. But only Pabitra made that dream a reality.
For more information on supporting New Americans and successful immigrant and refugee integration, please visit the White House Task Force on New Americans, which recently released a strategic action plan, Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents