Courtney… She found her calling!
From a young age, Courtney was cautioned to take care in the activities she participated in. Diagnosed with Hyper IGE Syndrome, an immunodeficiency disease, Courtney is susceptible to infections and prone to getting pneumonia. Courtney was referred to ACCES-VR by her high school guidance counselor in September 2015. At that time, due to the severity of her medical condition, Courtney attended the High School Learning Center, which was considered to be an “Alternative School.” She graduated in February 2016 with a Regents Diploma.
Courtney struggled to find a realistic employment goal given her medical condition. She worked at a local fast food restaurant but was let go from her position due to a chemical reaction from the cooking grease. At that point, Courtney realized that seeking a suitable position might be challenging.
In May 2016, Courtney’s ACCES-VR Counselor, Rashonda Mike, referred her to AIM Independent Living Center for direct placement services. "She originally wanted a job as a cashier or waitress," said Tammy Scott, an employment specialist at AIM. "We had to keep in mind her diagnosis so we didn't put her in a situation that might exacerbate her symptoms."
Courtney worked with Tammy to complete her resume and begin her job search. Not long into the process, Courtney and Tammy received word that a local home health care provider was conducting open interviews. After practicing her interviewing skills, Courtney felt confident to attend.
After her interview, things moved quickly. Courtney was accepted into a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) training program - a rigorous few days - and she was then hired as a PCA. On 6/6/16 Courtney began her new job, working an average of 25 hours per week. Her job duties include assisting clients, who are elderly or have a disability, with activities of daily living, self-care and other tasks, as well as providing them companionship.
It didn't take long after being hired for Courtney to find joy in her job. She values the knowledge that her position helps people remain in their own homes, rather than going to nursing homes. When asked what she enjoys most, she said, "Knowing that the people I work with are happy and taken care of means a lot to me."
Working as a Personal Care Assistant has sparked an interest in the medical field, and Courtney hopes to attend medical school someday.
This story was submitted by Dorothy Marinaccio
Regional Workforce Development and Business Relations Coordinator
Southern Tier District Office