When Samya B. started attending classes at Chicago State University (CSU) in 2019 to pursue her nursing degree, she knew she wanted to study pre-medicine but was unsure how to go about navigating her career path. She decided that working towards a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential would help her get into the medical field and establish a career more quickly, so she started exploring her options.
Samya learned about becoming a CNA at UChicago Medicine through Skills’ Pivot to Success program. Once accepted into the program, she started her education through Malcolm X College, mentorship through Skills, and working part-time as a Nursing Support Assistant Extern at UChicago Medicine in June 2022 in addition to continuing her coursework through CSU. We spoke with Samya about her experiences since being hired as a full-time CNA in October 2022.
What brought you to Skills?
I was cleaning up my emails and found one from Skills about their Pivot to Success program. I saw it offered free education and help to apply to work at UChicago Medicine, so I applied. I kept my fingers crossed and two days later got a call from Cecily [on the Career Access team] that there was an open spot, and I was ecstatic!
How was your experience working with Skills?
My experience was good. They provided interview and resume help, and they also helped me get materials for the job, including my scrubs and a transit card so I could get around the city.
During the summer, my brother (who has autism) was having health problems and there was violence happening in my neighborhood, so I told Yesenia [from the Career Access team] that I couldn’t continue with the program. She encouraged me to push through, even though I was worried about passing my test. She told me that bad days don’t last forever and things are going to get better, which meant a lot to me.
How did it feel when you were offered the CNA position with UChicago Medicine?
Amazing! I was trying to withhold my excitement and not scream!
How has Skills helped you grow?
Skills helped me become a more responsible and mature person. Skills helped me get into the medical field – no one shows you how to do that or even build a resume. Skills helped me do that. They also taught me how to prepare and talk more clearly during interviews.
Would you recommend Skills to other job seekers?
I would most definitely recommend people who are in need of help and also need to find direction to go to Skills. Even for those not interested in the medical field, I see so many other programs and jobs in customer service, banking, pharmacy, you name it. Skills has it all!