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Yvonne earns her high school diploma and starts a new career in healthcare with help from the South Baltimore Learning Center’s PATH program. – Success Story - Workforce Development and Adult Learning

Yvonne smiling in dressy, professional outfit After 14 years working with the same retail company, Yvonne Bankston’s position was eliminated. Finding herself out of work, Yvonne was looking to take her career in a different direction, and she knew the first step was to earn her high school diploma. She started classes at the South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC) in 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, and earned her diploma the next year. Following graduation, she was among the first group of learners to complete the Career Skills Academy, a new SBLC program that helps adults leverage their existing skill sets to move into new careers and equips them with the new skills and connections they need, whether they are career changers or they are entering the workforce for the first time.

Through her participation in the Career Skills Academy, Yvonne became aware of opportunities at Northwest Hospital when a representative from LifeBridge Health came to speak to the class about their Pathways and Training in Healthcare (PATH) program. “It was something I was really interested in,” Yvonne recalls, “because I wanted to do something in administration.”

Yvonne began her journey in the PATH program as a paid intern at Northwest Hospital in 2021. It wasn’t long before she was offered – and accepted – a full-time position with the hospital in the Patient Assets division. “They liked my work, they liked my personality, and they liked my customer service skills,” she says. “My favorite part of working at Northwest Hospital is working with the people there. They’re very friendly. Everybody is so nice. And I really like working with the patients…. I like people, period.”

Yvonne’s background in customer service retail had prepared her with many valuable transferable skills for her new role, but getting accustomed to the hospital system presented a challenge—one she was ready to meet. “I’m a fast learner and I learn hands-on,” she says. “When I first started, I was a little nervous, but the more I did the work, the more comfortable I became.” She approached this initial challenge the same way she faced difficulties with math while preparing for her GED® test at SBLC: “When there’s something that’s challenging to me, I don’t allow it to overcome me—I challenge it. I embrace the challenge.”

As someone who has completed both academic and career readiness programs at SBLC, Yvonne offers these words of advice to others who are considering enrolling: “Do it and stick with it. No matter how challenging it might seem or become, overcome those obstacles! Nothing is ever easy in transitioning and moving in life, and there are going to be times when things get in the way. The thing is to rise above them and keep pressing forward.”