(Photo Above: As a native Spanish speaker, Yaneli, pictured here with her son, looks to a future working in a medical setting where she can translate for patients.)
“It was scary at first to see everyone on screen,” says Yaneli of the first time she connected online with the other women in Climb’s Teton Area Medical Careers training.
“One of the first things we did was talk about ground rules, like not judging each other’s background. We were encouraged to show up as we are and spent those first few sessions building relationships. We shared pictures of our kids. Very quickly, I realized that I’m not alone as a single mother.”
When the pandemic hit, Climb’s therapeutically driven model, which has developed over the past 35 years to help remove barriers to employability, transitioned to an online format.
Families in poverty often don’t have access to technology, including computer equipment and reliable internet service. By providing laptops and technical support, Climb overcame these obstacles so the 13 participants in Yaneli’s group were able to take classes in parenting, budgeting, and professionalism; receive mental health counseling; and train in Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) work, electronic medical record keeping, Microsoft Office,® and more.
As a native Spanish speaker, Yaneli hopes to one day work in a medical setting where she can translate for patients. For this, she acquired a Spanish medical dictionary and spends hours and hours memorizing terms in both languages.
Yaneli’s group did mock interviews that involved more than 25 people in one Zoom® session. Virtual breakout rooms allowed each participant to practice with different interviewers. In another part of the training, her group used an online simulator to practice medical coding live with an instructor.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” says Yaneli of Climb’s intensive and innovative training. “But in five years I will tell my son, ‘See, it was worth it.’ I will make him proud of me.”