Celebrating their academic accomplishments, seated from left, are: Imari Wrenn of Smithfield, Tyeshia Whitfield of Franklin, Tonya Boone of Franklin, Laquita Goodman of Suffolk, Brittany Joyner of Suffolk and Shayla Hale of Norfolk. Back row: Alesia Hale of Norfolk, Eboni McCray of Suffolk, Darna Riddick of Suffolk, lead instructor Dawn Womble, NaTasha Sloan of Emporia, Tarnisha Johnson of Portsmouth and Ashley Rife of Carrsville.
Paul D. Camp Community College celebrated its first class of the Fast Track Healthcare program offered in downtown Suffolk. Twelve graduates were honored during a completion ceremony held Monday at the city’s Workforce Development Center.
In March, Birdsong Trust Fund generously funded the $24,000 start-up cost for the Suffolk program. It 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) to graduate students who can fill needed jobs in the college’s service region.
The non-credit FastForward program was initially intended to train for a career in clinical medical assistant, but lead instructor Dawn Womble expanded it to include the other credentials as well and had the program running five months after its inception.
“The incredible thing about this program is that students don’t have to have a medical background to enroll, and depending on what direction in which the students want to head, they can complete one or all parts of the program,” explained Womble. She said that 11 out of the 12 students passed their certification exams. The pass rates for the Fall 2018 Suffolk group are CPT—100 percent, CET—85 percent, and CCMA—92 percent.
The guest speaker for the event was Seko Varner, who runs his own entertainment firm, directs a youth mentorship program, volunteers with Green Run High School and works as a One-Stop operator for the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board.
In addition to celebrating the graduates, the following were recognized further with the presentation of awards:
- Most Improved Student — Eboni McCray and Darna Riddick
- Most Helpful Student — Natasha Sloan and Ashley Rife
- Sunshine Award — Tyeshia Whitfield and Brittany Joyner
- Most Dedicated — Tonya Boone and Tarnisha Johnson
- Leadership Award — Natasha Sloan and Laquita Goodman
- Clinical Excellence — Ashley Rife and Imari Wrenn
- Academic Excellence — Shayla Hale, Alesia Hale and Natasha Sloan
The students completing this program and passing their certification exams go to work in a shorter amount of time than a credit student who is working toward a degree would.
“Fast Track is where it’s at,” said Eboni McCray of Suffolk. “I gained an extra family here. I’ve never had a sister and now I have 13.”
According to graduate Laquita Goodman, also of Suffolk, the program is intense, as there is a lot of information taught in a short amount of time. “Be prepared to hit the ground running,” she advised potential students.
Womble said that members of the Birdsong Trustee Board and PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin visited the classroom recently.
“The students were able to demonstrate the equipment and tell them about their experiences in the clinical setting,” she said. “Bayview Medical Center played a big role in providing the clinical sites in which the students worked.”
The first Fast Track Healthcare class on the Franklin Campus graduated in July 2018. For more information about the program, contact the Workforce office at 757-569-6050 or visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development/.