News & Blog: Learner Stories


A Second Chance at a Dream: Rachida's Story

Written by Carrie Roper (Literacy Coordinator)

Rachida was born in Algeria, and always dreamt of working in the very competitive healthcare field in her country. Instead, RachidaRachida graduated with a degree in Marketing and took a position as an administrative assistant in the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy.

When Rachida moved to Grand Rapids in December of 2017 to join her husband, she saw an opportunity to change her career. It was a second chance for her dream: to start from the beginning of her journey into the healthcare field.

Looking to gain experience right away, Rachida took an entry level direct care job as a senior caregiver. She loved the patients she worked with, and the opportunity it gave her to open up and practice her English. She also began English tutoring at the Literacy Center to further support her language skills. 

At the Literacy Center, she also heard about an opportunity to train and gain certification as a nursing assistant. With her improved language skills and her desire to work in the healthcare field, she qualified for the Certified Nursing Assistant classes through America’s Promise at Goodwill.

This class was a full time commitment – a four week, 115-hour training including healthcare level CPR and first aide certification, as well as a paid state licensure exam at the end. As the only non-native English speaker in the class, Rachida learned to acclimate to the slang and vocabulary of her instructor and classmates. 

Rachida thrived in the class. She loved the prospect of being able to help others – and knowing what to do in different situations. After the class, Rachida took the state licensure exam and passed. She had two job opportunities almost immediately after passing the exam, and has recently been hired. 

Rachida’s advice to those who are arriving in the United States for the first time, or if they are lost in how to enter the healthcare field: Come to the Literacy Center!

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