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Health Professions Academy helps Robert realize his dream

He describes himself as a caregiver.  Caring for vets is a long-held dream that Robert has workedRobert, a veteran, earned his STNA certification at Great Oaks for and reached, because Robert now works as a Nurse Assistant at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.

To say that Robert is a multi-faceted man is an understatement.  He’s a cancer survivor, veteran, volunteer for the Veteran’s Administration (VA), Exalted Ruler of his fraternal order— the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World, photographer, trustee and bass player for his church and father of two grown sons.  He spent twenty years as a drill press operator. A few years ago though, he realized that he wanted and needed to chart a new career path. Healthcare called to him.  He earned his STNA certification in 2008 and worked in long-term care until his aging parents became ill and needed full-time care.  He embraced his new role and had the skills and training to give them the care they required and deserved.   Unfortunately, his certification expired during that time.

After his parents passed, Robert determined to return to the work he loved. He chose the Great Oaks Health Professions Academy based in the OhioMeansJobs Center in Cincinnati because of its excellent reputation and high standards.  He wanted to be in class with people who were committed to employment excellence—people who were prepared to learn, passed a drug test and background check and planned to have perfect attendance.  He asked the VA for funding support to enroll in the 5 WK PLUS Program State Tested Nursing Assistant/Patient Care Assistant.  They had not funded a student in the program before and needed some convincing.  Robert is anything if not persuasive.  He knew he could benefit from the employment skills training.  Although he had good work experience, he says it had been a long while since he had interviewed and he wanted an opportunity to network with human resources representatives from health care employers.  The VA funded his program and now Robert recommends the PLUS program to everyone.

In his job at the VA Medical Center, he earns an excellent wage with full-time hours and full benefits.  In addition, he’s excited to be working his dream job where he has a kinship with all of his patient—people whom Robert, a fellow veteran, considers “my family.”

The Great Oaks Health Professions Academy is a United Way Community Partner.

–Sue Spradlin

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