A single mom of two children, Christina McKenzie struggled to find a meaningful job that also paid the bills. She had been working for three years as a personal care aide but was feeling unfulfilled until a friend told her about the Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program at Patrick Henry Community College.
“I’d always wanted to be a Physical Therapist, but the college didn’t offer that program. So, I met with the Workforce Programs Specialist who told me about a similar program that would train me to become a CMA instead.”
After several months of classroom instruction and clinical rotations, McKenzie graduated at the top of her class and began a full-time position with Martinsville Urgent Care on July 9, 2016. She was also hired to work part-time with Brighter Day Health. McKenzie said the entire experience was a “blessing.”
“I took the program seriously and put my all into it because I wanted a real career, not just a job. I wanted to be something more.”
As with any goal that’s worth achieving, there were times when McKenzie got discouraged.
“I never gave up. I prayed and held on strongly to my faith. My children were my motivation. I didn’t want them to get the impression that it’s okay to quit when things get tough. Instead, I taught them that if you put your mind to something and work hard, you can and will make a better life for yourself.”
As a result of McKenzie’s training and certification as a CMA, she now earns 60% more than she did as a personal care aide. It appears that more good things are in her future as well. Patrick Henry Community College will add a physical therapy training program to its offerings in 2017. Asked whether she will go back to school for that program, Christina said. “Absolutely. I’ll be the first one to sign up!”
To find out more about this and other short-term training opportunities, visit our Workforce Credentials Grant Program page.