At fifty years old and with decades of experience, Donna Rucker found herself in a situation that she could never had predicted. She was working part time as a home healthcare aide, severely underemployed, and was really looking to do something different, something that would lead to a long-term career. Donna loved the medical industry and wanted to pursue employment and education in the field. At the urging of a friend, Donna stopped at National Able Network’s South Suburban American Job Center at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.

She quickly found the information she needed! Donna applied, and was approved, for the Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs. “I met all of the requirements, I did all of the training. I was assigned a job coach, and it went from there,” says Donna. Her career coach, Katrina Johnson, suggested that Donna look into combination programs, which would help make Donna more marketable when jumping into a new industry. Donna decided to pursue her studies at the Tukiendorf Training Institute in Hickory Hills. She was particularly excited about taking phlebotomy courses since she had some experience with the subject.

As she began taking courses, Donna was also given the opportunity to intern so she could build up her resume while applying for full time positions. Donna says, “I did a clinical internship of 100 hours. I had to be there at 4am, and I was driving a long way to get there, but I made it there and I did it!”

Katrina says, “Donna continued with determination and enthusiasm and completed her training on the 21st of March 2018.” Donna not only completed the program, but she did so with three certifications! She earned certifications in: EKG, phlebotomy and medical assisting. Upon earning her certifications, Donna was quickly hired and is currently a Patient Care Tech at Davita Healthcare.

Even after finding employment, Donna was able to connect with her career coach for assistance in purchasing specialized walking shoes for her new career – which they quickly found! Of her experience with National Able Network, Donna says, “They made it possible for me to gain the skills to not just be employed but to have a career. At my age you start doubting yourself, so it has changed, and I’m expecting it to change my life.”