CWEALF is passionate about creating opportunities for women and their families so that they can be self-sufficient. This is why we co-convene MetroHartford Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (MACH), a partnership that brings together employers and educators to design programs that prepare low income workers for jobs in healthcare.
On June 25, 2013 at the Boat House in Hartford, MACH came together in recognition of these efforts, and more importantly, celebrated its participants and graduates of the Enhanced Certified Nurses Aid Training program. The space teemed with laughter, gratitude and accomplishment. And then, one of our graduates stepped on stage, and the room hushed.
Adjusting the brim of her glasses, this usually demure woman held her head high over the podium and proudly swept her eyes across the room, staring back at peers, mentors, funders, program partners and employers. “My name is Gail Moran,” she opened, “I am a homeowner, mother, and I am also 57 years old.”
You read correctly. 57.
In her earlier years, when Gail first attempted college, she looked to be pursing her calling when she declared biology as her major. However, after meeting her husband and having children, like many women Gail put aside her aspirations for the sake of caring for her family. She later went back to school but switched her concentration to information technology, a decision followed by more than 30 years of various jobs that, as she put it, “fed my pocket, but not my soul.”
Then, for the first time in her life, Gail found herself unemployed. Persistent search efforts proved fruitless as Gail was laid off 3 more times, leaving the mother of two jobless for a total of five years.
But if you haven’t already figured it out, Gail is an amazingly determined woman. While continuing her search, she came across a flyer informing her of our enhanced CNA program. Having just seen her youngest child graduate college, Gail grabbed hold of the opportunity. Finally, it was her time.
The rest is history. Gail was named valedictorian of her class. When offered two promising internship opportunities, she found herself torn. So, she did what any woman with a red cape and the letter “S” on her chest would do—she successfully took on both internships and worked 80 hour shifts for the duration of the program. Shrugging her shoulders, she told us “This way, I got twice the experience.” She has since been offered full time employment and continues to pursue higher education.
As her speech ended, Gail looked up from her notes and back at all of us. Her eyes welled with tears. And we felt it: the years of sacrifice, every dream deferred, the hard work—was all bundled into this triumphant moment. Lightly wiping away a tear (as we wiped away ours) she concluded, “MACH and all of the wonderful people associated with it do not only help women like me find jobs—it helps us change our lives.”
Written by Denise Poventud. Denise is the Office Coordinator at CWEALF.