Doreen achieves her dream of a healthcare career

Doreen Katiba Doreen Katiba immigrated to the United States in 2018 for a few reasons: she wanted to see a new side of the world with new opportunities, she wanted to make new friends, and most importantly, she wanted to reunite with her husband who was already in the U.S. In Kenya, Doreen had served many patients as a counselor, helping with their emotional and social needs. Her dream in the United States was to receive healthcare training to help with patients' physical needs as well.

She quickly discovered, unfortunately, that the cost of nursing assistant training was too expensive at private colleges. She thought she would have to put her dream on hold until she heard about the Healthcare Career Pathway program partnership with Opportunity Junction, Mt. Diablo Adult Education, Empowered Aging, and local employers.

Doreen was excited to see that the program was no cost for eligible students, but she was thrilled to learn that the program taught through a person-centered care lens.

"I had always approached my work in Kenya through a client-centered approach. The person-centered approach for my nursing assistant training affirmed and worked with my personal beliefs," she shares. "I also greatly appreciated that this program helped take care of our non-academic needs as well. Our professional skills instructor met with me about challenges of the program and gave me gas cards to get to class every day."

She further expressed appreciation for the hot lunches, which were provided during the week, and the groceries she received from the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano.

Doreen Katiba in scrubsDoreen's training wasn't easy, however. Her training class began at in January 2020 and was interrupted with the start of the pandemic.

"The hardest effect was that our training had to be prolonged several months while we figured out how to complete clinicals and training," she explains "The positive part, though, was that I learned that I can think outside the box and learn via Zoom."

Doreen didn't give up on her training and was hired by our employer and clinical training partner, Willow Pass Healthcare Center, as a full-time Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

"Willow Pass is a great place to work," Doreen shares "I can work extra shifts and was given the CNA of the Year Award last year! It was really encouraging for my work to be recognized."

"I really appreciate Opportunity Junction and Mt. Diablo Adult Education for giving me this chance. Before this training, working in a hospital setting was a dream that has now become my reality. I am a new me. I am working with the alumni career counselor to take steps to work in a hospital one day. I see myself as valuable in this field. OJ made a healthcare worker out of me!"