Job hunters use government program to find healthcare openings

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A program helping those workers find new careers in healthcare wrapped up Friday, saving job hunters time and money.

Fourteen people from the Health Care Academy are now one step closer to a new career after going through the program that gives them real life experience, free of charge.

For Tonya Greger and Cristin Johnson, finding a new career has taken time. But they said in the past two weeks, the Healthcare Academy has given them a new outlook on their next step in life.

"I was doing general cashier retail sales ... I chose to further my career by going into nursing," Greger said.

"I had a baby and decided to be at home," Johnson said. "I've always kind of wanted to do medical assistance."

"I stopped in at the Chippewa Job Center for some other reasons, and they told me about the Bridges to Healthcare programs," Johnson said.

The academy offered through the Chippewa Valley Technical College and Workforce Resource is a government funded program designed to teach displaced workers about what jobs are out there in healthcare through tours of different facilities.

"They're able to ask questions, really see what it's like on the job, in person," program manager Sue Lane said.

"This is a great way to learn what options are out there which is gonna save you money in the end, by not paying for a worthless degree," Greger said.

"Hands on is definitely better than sitting there, reading, because I'd rather know what I wanna do than sitting there sleeping at a book," Johnson said.

"By introducing people to all the different careers that are out there, we will be able to get more people into training and into those careers," Lane said.

The graduates said they will now move on to college or their new careers. The program is also offered in River Falls, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie.

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