September 2020Deena Skinner RN, BSN As a divorced, single mother I made the decision to go back to school to provide a better life for my daughter and follow my dream of becoming a nurse. I worked full-time as well as took classes full time through my first two years of college. I took night and online courses so that I could stay on track. There were many sleepless nights of studying and writing papers followed by work the next morning. I was so proud of myself when I finished my Associates Degree in Pre-Nursing. As a single mom, when I began I wasn’t sure that I could manage holding a full time job and a full time class schedule and somehow I made that happen and even made the President’s list every semester. I worked my full-time job up until the first day of classes; but, due to the rigorous demands of nursing school I had to quit. In the beginning it was stressful trying to live off of student loans. It was impossible to find a part time job that would work around my class and clinical schedule. One of my classmates told me about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Program (WIOA). I had never heard about it and was skeptical to even apply. My classmate reassured me and gave me contact information for the program and I was able to speak with Ms. Freeman. She explained the benefits of the program and the process of applying and approval. Once I was approved Ms. Freeman was always available to answer any questions I had. WIOA/Middle Georgia Consortium staff wants each participant to succeed and goes the extra mile to make success possible. The program assists students with the cost of tuition which for me meant I would have much less debt after graduation. Gas mileage was also covered which was tremendous because I was required to drive to class and clinical up to 7 days a week. As fourth semester came to an end the WIOA program funded things such as graduation fees, the HURST review for NCLEX preparation to ensure student success. The program even funded the graduation fee. The joy of success when hearing my name called as I walked across the stage is a moment I will never forget! When it was time to register with the Georgia Board of Nursing and pay the necessary fees for the background check and the NCLEX, the WIOA funds covered it all 100%. This made it possible for me to take my NCLEX immediately after graduation and become a Registered Nurse. I am forever grateful for the WIOA program and its staff’s commitment to my success. I began my career as a Neonatal Intensive Care Registered Nurse this past June and look forward to a lifelong career of serving others. Not only have I made my dream come true, I have set an example for my daughter that anything is possible regardless of your circumstances. Thank you to the WIOA program for your huge contribution to my success.
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