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Friday, September 29, 2023

‘If you like the work, it can change everything:’ Student Shares How Healthcare Bridge ESOL Program Has Helped Guide Her Toward Her Career Goals

From landscaper to babysitter, to cleaning homes and working at a bakery, Lucileia has accumulated a diverse range of work experiences throughout her 45 years. But none have been more rewarding than her job as a training nurse technician in Brazil.

When Lucileia arrived in the U.S. in 2016 with her husband and two children, she hoped her education and training experience in nursing would lead to a job in healthcare. But between the language barrier and the complicated process of waiting for her work authorization permit, Lucileia quickly realized it would take much longer than she anticipated to pursue this goal.

Catholic Charities Boston’s Healthcare Bridge ESOL program offered her the perfect solution to this challenge. Designed to help students who have an intermediate understanding of English develop a strong foundation of English, math, digital literacy, and systems navigation skills, the program helps students secure sustainable, fulfilling jobs in the healthcare field while addressing the critical shortage of healthcare workers in the U.S.

“I like the class very much,” said Lucileia. “It is very interesting. I am learning a lot every time we meet.”

Lucileia is on track to complete the course in November. From there, she will take the Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide (CNA/HHA) licensing exam with the hope of getting a job as an in-home nurse or working in a hospital setting.

Lucileia says working in healthcare offers something new every day, along with building meaningful relationships and helping people in need.

“If you like the work you do, it can change everything,” she says.

Antonio De Sousa Lobo, Director of Workforce Development, said he has already witnessed the positive impact of the program and that he looks forward to expanding the program and giving more students, like Lucileia, the tools and skills to conquer their goals.

“The program is proving to be remarkably successful in many aspects, including the contextualized content being taught and the innovative online teaching approach used,” said Antonio. “The waiting list has grown to a staggering number.”

“The instructors are all very kind. Antonio checks in on us too and makes sure we are doing okay,” she said.

“I am excited,” Lucileia said. “Healthcare is what I want to do. It’s my dream.”

Click here to view a video about the program.

The ESOL Healthcare Bridge Program is a finalist in the Catholic Charities USA Innovation Challenge, where winners will receive over $600,000 each in grant funding to further develop their Workforce Development programs. Learn more about the Challenge here.

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