Job training leads to path forward

Ann Ellis

It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ann Ellis found herself unemployed and unprepared for the workplace. Caring for her daughter kept her busy, and she wasn’t sure how she could juggle work or job training with being a parent. But after learning about TAP and the SwiftStart program, Ann began to see a path forward.

 “TAP just opened the door for me,” she says. “It was the right recipe for me to reconnect and get started.”

   Job training was what initially drew Ann to TAP, but we were able to help her and her daughter with other challenges, too. Ann ultimately connected with several programs at TAP, which provided her with critical support as she worked through the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) training. She recalls that receiving housing support from our HELP coordinator, Hannah, was especially impactful, as it provided the stability necessary for her to focus on her studies.

Ann explained that Hannah went the extra mile to provide the tools she needed to become established in her new apartment. “It was a tremendous help, and the help has not ceased,” she says.

   Balancing work and life during the CCMA course was challenging, as Ann knew it would be. She felt the pressure of raising her daughter while taking classes herself. Ann knew she had to prioritize her education. “I had to get this job so that we could keep our heads above water,” Ann explains.

Reflecting on her time in the CCMA program at TAP, Ann says, “I didn’t know how tough I was until I took that course.” She didn’t know how she would do it, but she was determined to complete the course. When things got hard, Ann’s SwiftStart mentor, Jennifer, encouraged her to come up with solutions rather than excuses. “All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other, and that’s exactly what I did,” Ann reflects.

   She completed the TAP CCMA program in December and gained employment at Carilion Clinic soon after. She now works in a competitive position with Carilion General Surgery where she’s challenging herself and learning new skills daily.

   With these resources and experiences from TAP under her belt, Ann’s next goal is to pay it forward. She says, “I want to transition from being the person seeking and needing help to the person who can actually be helped. Instead of being the receiver, I’ll be the giver.”

   Ann’s advice to other individuals interested in TAP’s programs is to keep moving forward; “…to not give up on yourself, and to thank God first,” she says. Ann reminds others not to feel ashamed of falling down. “There are resources set in place to help you, and all you’ve got to do is go after them.”

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