The Commencement of the Caminos Career Pathways Nursing Assistant Class of 2012 took place Saturday, Feb. 9 at Centro Hispano of Dane County on Madison’s south side.
Family and community members gathered to see nine graduates honored at the ceremony for a program that was a partnership between Centro Hispano. Madison College, the Latino Academy of Workforce Development (LAWD), and Omega School through a Career Pathways Grant awarded by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). The grant provided four months of integrated training in the area of health care services (Certified Nursing Assistant) to Latinos in the greater Madison area. All nine graduates started the program on August 6, 2012 and completed the 2012 Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate offered at Madison College in December.
“Today is all about the graduates and their families who have supported them through this process,” Centro Hispano Executive Director Kent Craig said in his welcoming address. “It’s been a lot of hard work. Congratulations to you all.”
Craig recognized Tomy Tepepa of Centro Hispano and Akemy Schultz of the Latino Academy of Workforce Development for being really instrumental in bringing everything together.
“It’s been a great experience to watch these students grow. They are a good example for others who want to pursue higher education and think that it is impossible to achieve,” Tepepa said.
The nine participants —Agustina Pérez, Araceli Ugalde-Pérez, Ana Siles, Gabriela Canchola, Genoveva Montes-Lopez, Heidi Figueroa-Velez, Karla Torales, Lorenza Moreno, and Margarita Barajas — completed 3-4 weeks of computer training with the LAWD, 8 weeks of ESL-supportive success classes and 8 weeks of the Certified Nursing Assistant classes at Madison College. Students who did not have their GED or HSED have been attending Omega School for help with tutoring and test preparation. All nine participants have received the Madison College Certified Nursing Assistant Certificates and are now preparing for employment placement.
At the commencement, Margarita Barajas and Araceli Ugalde Perez made class remarks.
“This is a time of celebration and a moment of pride for all of us,” Perez said. “We worked so hard to make this all possible. In order to attend school, many of us have to leave our children or our spouses in order to make our dream come true.”
“This scholarship was one of the best things to happen to each and every one of us,” added Barajas. “Out of all of the Latinos and Latinas who applied for the scholarship, for us to be chosen was a very great honor. We are very grateful and thankful for this opportunity that was given to us. This scholarship was a stepping stone for us and for our future. Now other Latinos will be able to see that if we can do it — they can do it, too.”
On Dec. 19, the participants completed their final class and took their final CNA exam at Madison College. All students received their Certificate of Achievement for completing 120 hours in the Nursing Assistant program.
As the program helped participants obtain the Certified Nursing Assistant Certification, it also involved a scholarship that helped support the tuition, rental of books, GED completion (if applicable), computer software training, and help with employment placement assistance. There are expected to be 31 scholarships available for the second co-hort which will start this spring.
For more information,contact Tomy Tepepa at Tomy@micentro.org or (608) 442-4019. Or you can contact, Akemy at Schultzfirstname.lastname@example.org or (608)310-4573.