After dedicating her time to raising her children for several years, Anna Jean Cater decided that she needed to do something for herself. She was certified as a math teacher in her home country of the Philippines, and had worked as a cashier at Meijer for a few years between her move to Grand Rapids and the birth of her first child, but she knew that she wanted a new career. She said, “I want to start where my weakness is, which is English.” A friend told her about the Literacy Center of West Michigan, and she enrolled in an advanced blended classroom/online ESL course. During that class, she improved her English, earned a Silver National Career Readiness Certificate, and through our online software, learned about various careers and how to navigate technology systems.
When the grant for that class ended in 2016, the Literacy Center told her about other opportunities through the Employment Services Collaborative (ESC). She went to the Women’s Resource Center and enrolled in their computer classes so that she could continue to build her technology skills. She also received career coaching and learned about programming at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT), all while continuing to keep in touch with the people she knew at the Literacy Center. She was accepted at WMCAT and enrolled in their medical billing program. She was nervous about interviewing for and starting the program there, though; in her words, “I want to make sure that the people who recommended me got the right person.”
Unsurprisingly to those at the Literacy Center and Women’s Resource Center who had recommended her, Anna did extremely well. She enjoyed her classes there and appreciates the support she received. She graduated from WMCAT in June. Also, after completing an externship at Spectrum health, she received a job offer and is now working there full-time as a medical biller. Her advice to anyone who is looking to improve their lives: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be yourself. And read – that’s how you empower yourself.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be yourself. And read – that’s how you empower yourself.”