HPOG is the answer to living paycheck to paycheck
Before he discovered the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Buffalo Visit disclaimer page program at Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Inc., Jacob considered himself a typical example of the working class poor. He lived paycheck to paycheck, working dead-end jobs with no direction. At the end of the day, he barely made enough money to support himself. While he received Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits, he made too much to qualify for food stamps. Times were difficult for Jacob and he desperately wanted to make a change in his life.
With no post-high school education or formal job training, Jacob knew going back to school was the only way to make a better life for himself. Jacob carefully considered his options. He’d always been curious about medicine and healthcare and possessed an affinity for helping others. With this in mind, he decided to pursue becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
With the help of a supportive family, Jacob completed the training to receive his nursing license and landed a part-time job at Buffalo General Hospital. He loved the work but still wasn’t making enough to fully support himself. More important than that, Jacob wanted more out of life and his career. He resolved to set his sights even higher and become a Registered Nurse (RN).
An RN degree required even more school, and Jacob worried about incurring extra debt. His mother showed him an advertisement for HPOG Buffalo in the local employment newspaper, and he knew he had found the answer to his problems. He attended an Intro to Healthcare Careers workshop in August 2018 and met his future case manager, Khalidah Sabir. Jacob’s case manager answered all his questions and helped guide him in the right direction. Soon after their meeting, That same fall, Jacob was accepted into Trocaire College’s RN program and to the HPOG Buffalo program.
Throughout his training, Jacob received the support he needed to succeed. Khalidah kept in close contact with him so he would not fall behind. If he needed additional assistance, she was there to help. HPOG Buffalo provided transportation assistance and when his car broke down, they paid for repairs out of the emergency fund. “I couldn’t believe the kind of support that was available to me,” he recalls. “I wish I had known about this program when I applied to LPN school.”
An HPOG Employment Specialist contacted Jacob prior to his graduation. She helped him update his resumé and worked to improve his interview skills. She also told him about the work-preparedness workshops offered at the Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC). By the time he graduated, Jacob was fully prepared to begin his new career on the right foot.
Jacob interviewed and was hired for a full-time position at Buffalo General in January 2020. His starting wage was $41.86 per hour. Within a few months, he was promoted with a raise to the COVID-19 floor. Jacob is now happily employed and financially secure, but he is not finished. He hopes to continue his education, and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
“I’m so thankful for HPOG Buffalo and all the opportunities that it has provided. HPOG is a great resource to this area and I hope that many more people are able to take advantage of it.”
This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.