“Should I pay bills or put food on the table?” Before she found ACCESS, this was a question Susan asked herself regularly. Susan was laid off four years ago from her job at a major automotive supplier and her husband was out of work due to injuries. They were in a crisis situation.
Frustrated, afraid of the unknown, and worried about how she was going to support her family, Susan, now 45, came to ACCESS to file for unemployment. She never thought that she would end up in school again, but with the support of her family and her ACCESS caseworker, Ghaisaa Afiouni, Susan decided to follow her dream of becoming a nurse through the No Worker Left Behind program. She was accepted into the nursing program at Henry Ford Community College, and ACCESS helped her by covering the cost of tuition, books and uniforms.
“I truly believe if it wasn’t for Ghaisaa, none of this would have happened,” Susan said. “She would call and check in and send inspirational emails and keep me pushing forward. At times when I thought I couldn’t do it, she knew I could do it.”
Susan recently graduated with a 4.0 GPA and an associate’s degree in nursing. She is working as a nursing assistant and will soon start her new job as a full-time registered nurse at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn. She plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and continue to pursue her education in the field of nursing.
“I love taking care of people,” Susan said. “There are hardly any jobs that you can take pride in knowing you are making a difference every day. Working as a nurse’s assistant, you have the ability to make someone’s day better. Even if someone is dying, you can still help their family cope. I have a career now instead of a job.”