Student Success Story: Gerald R. Ford Student’s Inspirational Story Lands Her a Career Start!
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Student Success Story: Gerald R. Ford Student’s Inspirational Story Lands Her a Career Start!

Student Success Story: Gerald R. Ford Student’s Inspirational Story Lands Her a Career Start!

Rachelle Martin, dropped out of high school her senior year due to being bullied by a group of female students.  “I was scared” Rachelle states, “so I just didn’t go back.”  Instead, the Grand Rapids native enrolled at the local Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center.  “I used to walk past the building on my way home from school, but I never knew what it was” Rachelle recalls,  “I am now so grateful that I looked into what the Job Corps program had to offer.”

Her decision to enroll at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center gave her a chance to finish her education in a safe environment, learn two skilled trades, and the opportunity to begin a new career with Saint Mary’s Heath Care.

Rachelle enrolled at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center on October 27, 2009.  In just over a year, she completed the Health Occupations Trade and passed her state test to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  In addition, she earned her GED, became a student leader and served as the Committee Chairperson for the Student Government Association, and is currently working on completing her second trade, Business Technology.  Her hard work, professionalism, and determination to take advantage of all the opportunities Job Corps offers, resulted in Rachelle receiving an internship at the local non-profit food pantry, South End Community Outreach Ministries (SECOM).  While serving as an Office Assistant at SECOM, Rachelle assisted with filing, data entry, and office organization, and recalled visiting SECOM as a child to receive food assistance with her aunt.  Now as a Job Corps student, “I was finally able to give back and help those who had once helped me” Rachelle states.   

After completing her internship at SECOM, Rachelle attended the quarterly Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center Community Relations Council Meeting to share the positive impact of her internship experience.  Before a large group of community members, staff, and students, Rachelle spoke about her struggles with being bullied, her decision to come to Job Corps, her opportunity to volunteer at SECOM, and her future goal to one day work at a local hospital as a CNA.  

Sitting in the audience was Ron Leonard, Retail Sales Operation Supervisor for the St. Mary’s Heath Care Nutrition Services Department.  Rachelle’s tearful story resonated with Ron, and although he did not know her personally, and was not directly involved with the hiring of CNAs at St. Mary’s, his empathy for Rachelle led him to send an e-mail to the Organization and Talent Effectiveness (OTE) Department at St. Mary’s, requesting they take a closer look at Rachelle. 

Taking Ron’s advice, the OTE scheduled a phone interview with Rachelle which resulted in a follow-up interview.  Rachelle’s professionalism, charm, and compassion shined through in her interview and she was offered a position.

Now finishing up her last steps at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, Rachelle is working as a Patient Care Assistant for the Medical Renal at St. Mary’s Health Care.  She is working diligently to help meet the personal care needs of patients with chronic illnesses and those who are in need of critical care.

“I have landed my dream job” Rachelle expresses with enthusiasm and a smile, “this is what I have worked so hard for and I could not have done it with out the help of the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center.”

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