SGTC LPN WIOA graduate “going extra mile” and paying it forward
Ciera Raven graduated from the South Georgia Technical College practical nursing program in August of 2015. Today, she is a successful business owner and ready to “pay it forward” by hiring other South Georgia Technical College certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) or Health Care Aid graduates.
Raven, who was a recipient of the WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act grant) while at South Georgia Tech, opened Graceful Hands Home Care, LLC, and is providing excellent home care to seniors and disabled individuals who prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home. They offer 24-hour care, weekends, holidays, and emergency service is available upon request as well as other types of supportive care. Currently her business serves residents in Sumter, Dougherty, Lee, Taylor, Terrell, Webster and surrounding counties. She also has a personal care home in Dawson and is opening one in Sumter County.
The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act provides students with financial assistance for tuition, fees, books and direct training costs. Both Cierra and her husband, Arthur, graduated from the South Georgia Technical College Practical Nursing program and were enrolled in the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. “South Georgia Tech and WIOA were a God send for me,” said Cierra Raven. “The WIOA assistance helped with tuition and fees and allowed me to not work while I was in the nursing program. I don’t know how I would have made it without that assistance. Now I would like to help others because I have been helped.”
After graduation, Raven worked with different organizations in the surrounding area including Magnolia Manor, Four County Health and Rehab in Richland, Lighthouse in Perry, and with The Oaks in Marshallville. She also worked as a travel nurse.
“South Georgia Technical College is an excellent school and the nursing program is one of the best programs. Mrs. Jennifer Childs is very knowledgeable and I learned so much from her and from the clinical sites,” said Raven. “You have to study to make your grades. Mrs. Childs teaches you to be accountable for yourself. She did not allow anyone to be a slacker. There are no excuses. She teaches you work ethics. You either do your work and make your grades or you don’t pass.”
It is because of that type of accountability that Cierra Raven wanted to come back to South Georgia Tech to look for her future employees. “I want to hire CNA’s and home health care aids that have been taught by instructors like Mrs. Childs and Jeana Yawn. I worked with Ms. Yawn when she was working at Dr. Chase’s office and now she is an instructor at South Georgia Tech. So, I know that when a student passes, they have done the work.”
Raven when on to say that one of the best things about South Georgia Tech is how they “go the extra mile” to try and help students and that includes the WIOA grant assistance. “Ms. Sandhya Muljibhai came to the classes and talked with us about the program and how it could help. I am so glad that she did.
“South Georgia Tech taught me more than just how to be a nurse,” added Raven. “South Georgia Tech taught me be a leader and to hold myself responsible. They taught me how to be my own best employee by working hard. This is a very good school and one of the best things is, it does not take that long to graduate. And when you finish you have no loan to pay back. They are helping people get real jobs!”
In addition to Raven and her husband, her brother-in-law, Christopher Raven, is also a graduate of South Georgia Tech. He was a WIOA recipient in the Aircraft Structural Technology program. “We and a lot of other people are all doing well and it is because of what we learned at South Georgia Tech,” said Raven.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that helped Raven and her family is still helping South Georgia Technical College students today. It is a federal program that assists eligible students in select programs with college-related expenses such as tuition, fees, books, and direct training cost. The federal funds are made available to SGTC by the River Valley Regional Commission and the WIOA board.
Over 20 programs at South Georgia Technical College are eligible for the WIOA program (limited enrollment allowed in some programs). Those programs include: Accounting, Air Conditioning Technology, Aircraft Structural Technology, Auto Collision Repair Technology, Automotive Technology, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Avionics Technology, Commercial Truck Driving, Criminal Justice Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, Early Childhood Care and Education, Electrical Lineworker, Electrical Systems Technology, Electronics Technology, Emergency Medical Technician, Industrial Mechanical Systems, Industrial Systems Technology, Law Enforcement Academy, Medical Assisting, Practical Nursing, Precision Machining and Manufacturing and Welding and Joining Technology.
To qualify for WIOA assistance, students must be currently enrolled at South Georgia Technical College or have been accepted by SGTC; be enrolled in a program that WIOA accepts; have applied for financial aid (you do not have to receive financial aid, but you must have attempted to receive financial aid.); meet income eligibility; meet sustainability standards (this includes passing an assessment phase and interview phase) and live in the Middle Flint Area 16 region of: Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, or Webster County.
To learn more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and to find out if you qualify, call Sandhya Muljibhai or Sarah Teal in the SGTC WIOA office at 229.931.2172. Students can apply for the WIOA assistance online at: https://www.southgatech.edu/academics/academic-resources/workforce-innovations-opportunities-act/.
South Georgia Technical College is currently accepting students for Fall Semester. Classes start August 18th and it is not too late to apply. For more information, contact the SGTC admissions office at 229-931-2760 in Americus or 229-271-4051 in Crisp County. Students can also email Katrice Taylor at email@example.com on the Crisp County Campus or Candie Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org on the Americus campus. Applications can also be found on the SGTC website at www.southgatech.edu.