Clay Countian Jaclyn Hoskins says she never pictured herself working in the medical field—it just wasn’t even on her radar as a career that would fit for her.
Sitting in the Daniel Boone Community Action Center offices in Manchester, now a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) working at Grace Health Community Health Center, she laughs that she ever had that notion.
“It’s not something that I had saw myself doing, and then when I actually started my internship I was very surprised at how much I liked it,” she says as she adjusted herself in her seat.
Being on the other side, it’s easier now for Hoskins to see how much light was at the end of the tunnel she was staring down in November 2017 when she was laid off from her data entry position at a firm in London, Ky.
“It was rough . . . just before Christmas,” she recalls, adding that she was unsure what the future held for her and her three children.
Like many in the region, Hoskins immediately visited her local Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET) branch in Manchester to enroll for unemployment insurance. While at her appointment, she says she heard about a program offered through Daniel Boone Community Action that could possibly help her get back on her feet.
Daniel Boone CAA provides Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) career-advising services in Jackson and Clay counties under contract with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) that help people re-enter the workforce or upskill for new, better jobs and careers. In addition to assistance to dislocated or underemployed adult workers, the agency also provides workforce services to at-risk youth and area employers.
“The (OET) worker told me about the program and told me who I should speak to. I think I called her the next day and just told her what was going on and she told me how she could help me,” Hoskins says.
The following day, she met with Career Advisor Joann Nolan about her options. After taking her information, Nolan said Hoskins was a perfect candidate to qualify for the Community Impact initiative, a grant-funded program that helps provide training and employment services to dislocated workers.
“Joann was wonderful through the whole thing. She went above and beyond to help me with anything that I needed,” Hoskins says.
After filling out paperwork and taking preliminary tests for the program, Nolan let Hoskins know she could start the enrollment process for London-based Choice MD’s 16-week training for Certified Clinical Medical Assistants (CCMA), with all expenses—including books, scrubs, tuition, internship, etc.—included.
Though the offer seemed too good to be true to Hoskins, she was still hesitant.
“I wasn’t really sure if it was something I was definitely interested in,” she says. “I had doubts about it.”
Hoskins waited a few months before deciding to take the plunge and getting enrolled in the program. She started classes in March 2018.
“I had doubts all through the program,” Hoskins admits. “I was afraid I wouldn’t like it, that I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
However, Hoskins says that what changed her mind about the career path she was on was when she began her internship at Grace Health—her current employer.
“My internship helped me with the doubts that I was having about it. I don’t think I would have been successful at all without it. I think I would have given up,” she says, adding that her internship wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Daniel Boone Community Action and her career advisor.
Since taking that leap of faith, Hoskins has completed her classes for her CMA certification, was hired full-time at Grace Health, and has taken an even bigger leap into foreign waters.
“It’s made such an impact on me that I’ve enrolled back into school, into Somerset Community, and I’m doing my general education and my prerequisites for the nursing program,” she says, beaming.
As she looks back on the last year of life, Hoskins says she knows she would not be working in a field she enjoyed so much had she never taken the time to talk with Nolan—or anyone—at Daniel Boone CAA. She adds that she hopes anyone who is searching for a job or has been laid off will do what she did and visit their local Community Action offices.
“I thought before that (Daniel Boone CAA) was a good program, something definitely to check into. But now, after everything’s done, I think it’s a wonderful program,” she says. “It changes people’s lives—it did mine.”
EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves the citizens of 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services, administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program for dislocated coal miners and their spouses, and is the White House-designated lead organization for the federal TechHire designation for Eastern Kentucky. Learn more about us at http://www.ekcep.org, http://www.jobsight.org and http://www.facebook.com/ekcep.