News & Blog: Learner Stories


Guest Blogger: Chad Patton, Director of the Literacy Center's Customized Workplace English program and Zina's career coach. 

Sitting down for her interview, Zina shows off her new badge from Spectrum Health.

“When I got my badge, [my sons] were so excited. They were kissing it.”

When we last reported on Zina, she was attending Kent ISD’s Beckwith Adult Education with the long-term goal of becoming a nurse. She was doing all of this while raising her two sons with her husband and providing childcare at her sons’ school.

Today, Zina is excited to talk about her accomplishments. As of late, she has many. She is now a mother of three, she has a new certification, and she has a new job.

Zina 1Zina began her journey toward becoming a certified phlebotomist when she began receiving WorkKeys tutoring from Deb Snow, the America's Promise Foundational Lead at GRCC. “I was studying [at MTEC],” Zina says, “and one day me and Debra Snow, we were talking about positions in healthcare and she mentioned to me, ‘would you like to be in phlebotomy?’”

Zina learned that it was a good starting position in healthcare, and signed up for the classes in May. [Watch this video of Zina discussing her class]

Throughout the process of earning her credential, family was a big part of her success. “[My Husband] was the first person to push me,” Zina says. “He was the biggest support in my life… without him, I couldn’t be this far.”

Zina also had an important network of community partners. She had taken classes at the Literacy Center and through Kent ISD’s adult education program. Then she found support from the staff in Grand Rapids Community College’s workforce development program.

Today, Zina takes pride in her work. “Without phlebotomy,” she says, “healthcare cannot function... the doctor is not going to know what is going on with the patient.”

Zina copyZina also has a roadmap for her future. She still plans to be a nurse, and she has the tenacity to reach that goal. “If I succeed in my job, I will succeed in other positions in the future.”

For Zina, achieving her dreams isn’t just about her. With two sons who are interested in becoming doctors, Zina understand how her success empowers her family’s success.

“They always wanted to be doctors… I can lead them to succeed, lead them to a good future, and lead them in a good direction in their lives. That’s why I always wanted to work hard on myself.”

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