March 16, 2021. That was Natacha’s first day on her new job. But her journey and determination to reach that day began a year ago – before life was interrupted by the pandemic.
I had shopped at Goodwill but first learned about their training programs through a flyer from the local job development center. I was an aide at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities but wanted to enroll in a nursing assistant program.
When my mother had cancer, I loved how the people on her healthcare team cared for her. Becoming a nurse has always been my goal. I had some experience in the industry, what I didn’t have were the credentials to give me more options.
I was really happy to get accepted into Goodwill’s healthcare program. I planned to take classes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and work from 4 to midnight. Then COVID hit.
I was laid off for two months because the group home needed people who could live onsite full-time. I have a young daughter so that didn’t work for me. I resigned when the group home asked workers to return but changed to 12-hour shifts. It made childcare a problem and I needed to be there for my daughter, who is now two.
Goodwill had to cancel their in-person healthcare training. But I was hopeful because their email said they were exploring a new virtual program, which I started last May.
Online learning was an adjustment because I learn better being in a classroom. But my Career Coach, Ms. Monique, and Ms. Lisa from Goodwill were always there. They sent links to videos and online resources where I could further my skills.
I graduated in 28 weeks studying at night after my daughter went to sleep. Given how well I did with training for my Certified Medical Administrative Assistant credentials, Goodwill encouraged me to keep going. I earned two more certifications – Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and Certified Customer Service Professional.
Goodwill did everything possible to put me in the best position to succeed. Ms. Tamela sent me job leads. I got Lyft credits to get help with my cover letter, resume and attend job interviews. They provided a Goodwill store voucher to get interview clothing.
MedCerts also connect me with a one-month internship to get more hands-on experience at a DaVita dialysis center.
I am really shy and still not entirely comfortable with interviews. But the practice I got through Goodwill made me more confident and employers liked my enthusiasm.
I didn’t have any certifications or a career when I started the healthcare program. Now I’m on my way to do something good for myself, my family and our community.