Students who completed the rigorous healthcare program under lead instructor Dawn Womble, seated left, are: Crystal Rose of Newsoms, Janice Turner of Franklin and Tara Mclean of Suffolk; second row: Jeamis Britt of Franklin, Kenya Scott-Newsome of Suffolk, Capron Smith of Hampton, Mona Johnson of Franklin, Salean’a Saunders of Franklin, Rochelle Scott of Franklin and Sherniya Wiggins of Franklin. Back: Tatyana Beale of Newsoms, Frances Sharp of Franklin, Amaris McDaniel of Chesapeake, Alexis Harris of Portsmouth, Shanice Clemons of Sedley and Tamika Swan of Suffolk. Swan is the second in her family to graduate from PDCCC. Her sister, Laveckia, previously completed her degree and also worked for the college.
A special ceremony dedicated to 16 ladies who completed the Fast Track Healthcare program at Paul D. Camp Community College was held June 4 at the college’s Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin.
The program is offered through PDCCC’s Division of Workforce Development and is a curriculum that bundles Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) and Certified EKG Technician (CET) in order to graduate students who can fill needed jobs in the college’s service region. Sessions are alternatively taught on the Franklin and Hobbs Suffolk campuses. This ceremony was to celebrate the second cohort from the Franklin-based program.
The non-credit FastForward program was initially intended to train students for a career in clinical medical assistant, but lead instructor Dawn Womble expanded the program to include the other credentials that put the successful completers in even higher demand.
“It is a win-win situation, because it allows the college to provide a skilled workforce for our local businesses as well as helps the students attain a viable career with sustainable wages,” said Workforce Development Director Angela Lawhorne.
The Fast Track Healthcare is one of the programs at PDCCC where you may find a mix of students who are enrolled to get training for their first full-time job, alongside of students who are in the program to repurpose or enhance a career.
Sherniya Wiggins, 19, graduated from Southampton High School in June 2018. She received direction to go into a healthcare field primarily from watching her mother serve as a nurse.
“It inspired me a lot, and it fits my personality of caring for people,” she said. “I want to get more hands-on experience first. Then I want to continue my education to earn a bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse.”
Janice Turner, 59, who spent 16 years in the corrections field before transitioning to the medical field, currently serves as a Direct Support Professional (DSP), assisting adults with disabilities. She heard about the program from Workforce Career Coach Lisha Wolfe.
“This is an excellent program and an awesome opportunity,” she said. “When you are my age and come into a class with all these young, strong women, you are forced to refocus in order to keep up the pace with them. Mrs. Womble deals with us one-on-one to make sure no matter what else is going on in our lives, we all really get what she is teaching.”
Amaris McDaniel, 42, landed in the program after graduating from the Truck Driver Training program at PDCCC. She discovered Fast Track Healthcare after meeting Womble in the hallway one day and drove to the classes every day from Chesapeake. “I realized that as much as I wanted to have my own office and see the world, that I had six kids at home who I would not be with if I was driving for a living,” she said.
Tara Mclean and Kenya Scott-Newsome have already secured jobs with Bayview Physicians Group and Capron Smith will kick off her career at Tidewater Physicians Group.
In addition, one male enrolled, Jade Cross of Newsoms, earned the phlebotomy certification.
The ladies say that as a group, they have been through all sorts of personal issues that have required some accommodation by Womble. “Thank God for her,” said Frances Sharp, 58. “She has encouraged us and motivated us during some of our weakest moments.”
The guest speaker for the program was retired administrator Deborah W. Faulk. Her remarks were followed by a vocal presentation by Minister Mary Lane-Williams of Love Center Family Church in Suffolk.
In addition to the celebration of the students’ completion, the following honors were awarded:
- Most Helpful Student—Mona Johnson and Capron Smith
- Most Improved Student—Tara Mclean and Tamika Swan
- Sunshine Award —Frances Sharp, Jeamis Britt and Tatyana Beale
- Most Dependable Student— Crystal Rose and Sherniya Wiggins
- Most Dedicated Student—Shanice Clemons and Rochelle Scott
- Clinical Excellence— Kenya Scott-Newsome, Jeamis Britt, Tara Mclean, Alexis Harris and Janice Turner
- Leadership Award—Frances Sharp and Amaris McDaniel
- Academic Excellence—Mona Johnson, Salean’a Saunders and Capron Smith
“Although it has been challenging to meet the needs of everyone as far as the varied levels of “old school” versus “new methods” of math, an incredible aspect of the program is that medical background is not needed to enroll, and students can finish one or all parts of the program, depending on where they are headed in their careers,” said Womble.
Sharp added as a word from the wise to potential students to be serious when you enroll in the program. “Come prepared and be ready to work,” she said.
All three programs prepare students to sit for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification exams to earn their credentials. PDCCC has become an NHA partner and will offer the exams on-site. For more information about the program, contact the Workforce office at 757-569-6050 or visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development/.