‘I got here by not giving up:’ Ameisha Cates on dreams and perseverance

After two failed attempts to pass her CNA exam, Ameisha felt like her opportunity had passed. Maybe her lifelong goal since childhood was simply unattainable for her. 

But there is no expiration date on your dreams.

Originally from Gary, Indiana, Ameisha Cates, 38, fell in love with nursing through her grandmother. As the caretaker of her grandfather, Ameisha’s grandmother recruited Ameisha to help. From that moment onward, she knew her long-term career goals.

Three years ago, Ameisha started working towards her CNA license while living in Texas with her two daughters, the oldest of whom is 16. Traveling to and from class proved too tricky, so the Cates crew moved to Memphis to live with her sister so Ameisha could continue her CNA training. 

“When I got to Memphis, I went straight to Hire Local and Career Academy,” Cates said. “The classes were a blast, and I felt like I was learning a ton. I was intrigued by what they offered, so I followed the thread.”

After completing her 7-week CNA course, Ameisha began her soft skills and certification exam training. With years of work behind her, she could see her dreams materializing. But after her first two exam attempts went unsuccessfully, she felt that maybe it all wasn’t for her. 

But she gave it one more go at the encouragement of our team.

“Latasha and Arika walked and continue to walk with me step by step,” Cates said. “If it wasn’t for them being my backbone, I don’t know where I’d be.”

On her third attempt, Ameisha passed her exam.

“I was overjoyed,” Cates said. “I could feel this weight lift off my shoulders for the first time. I could breathe. Latasha was the first person I called!”

But Ameisha hasn’t let off the gas pedal yet. She’s now immersed in the job search process and recently had her first interview and offer from Methodist Le Bonheur!

Once a job is secured, Ameisha wants to return to school and become a registered travel nurse. Having lived in multiple cities and states, she feels that there is a great need for service across the country. Traveling is also something her girls are excited about. 

For her last birthday, Ameisha had their names tattooed on her wrists. She called them her permanent bracelets, reminding her of why she pushes herself and the legacy she wants to leave.

“I don’t want them to settle in life,” Cates said. “I’m 38 years old, and it took me a long time to get here. But I got here by not giving up.”

“I want to teach them to go at their dreams full force but to leave their pride at the door,” Cates continued. “I held myself up by not reaching out to others to help me. So to people who are passionate about this field, don’t wait. Come on! People like those at Hire Local are here to help you chase those dreams.”

To say we’re proud of Ameisha’s journey is an understatement. Her story is one people need to hear. Life is not linear. Rarely do things work out the first time. You only succeed through learning to bounce back stronger than you were before. 

Everyone’s path is a bit different. And even if you’re in the same field, you’re in another car. We aim to ride in that car with you and help prepare you for tricky corners, sharp turns, and unforeseen obstacles. 

If you’re interested in our program, don’t wait. Reach out to us today!

‘Nothing can stop you:’ Katrina Banks on how Career Academy changed her trajectory

“I just took a chance and went with it.”

After spending time with various jobs, such as warehouse work and daycare services, local Memphis resident Katrina Banks was forced to step back.

With her grandmother needing more assistance aging in place, Katrina took on many caretaker responsibilities. Without questioning herself, she immersed herself in learning the best techniques to provide intentional, detailed, and loving care. After a friend introduced her to HireLocal, Katrina saw a pathway to turn her senior care skills into a career and provide even better care for her grandmother.

“I was happy to handle most of my grandmother’s care, but I wasn’t thinking of a career shift,” Banks said. “After my friend introduced me to HireLocal, I saw a path to provide sole care of my grandmother and also for a career. I needed that extra push.”

Our Career Launch Academy was a vital resource for Katrina. She had not been working for six months prior due to solely caring for her grandmother. Our program helped bridge gaps in her training and better prepare her for job interviews.

“I had not worked for about six months before I started with HireLocal,” Banks said. “It helped ease me back into the job mode and gave me some pickups and little tips to take along with me. And that helped me in the interview process.”

After completing our Soft Skills portion of the eight-week program, Katrina moved to clinical skills training. Soon after graduation, Katrina passed her CNA exam and began the interview process.

Earlier this year, she landed a role on the surgery floor working with cardiac patients at Methodist Hospital as well as a position at a nursing home.

 “It’s hustle and bustle,” Banks said. “But I get to work primarily with seniors, which is my focus.”

Her heart remains in senior care, and she sees these roles as stepping stones to furthering herself in that field.

“I’m currently looking into nursing school, as Methodist offers great tuition reimbursement plans,” Banks said. “After that, I eventually want to start my own practice focusing on senior care.” 

We’re deeply proud of Katrina’s hard work and success since completing our program. But her extraordinary journey is far from over. 

To others thinking of pursuing a career in the medical field, she encourages people to be bold and shove doubt to the side.

“Just go for it,” Banks said. “I’ve talked myself out of a lot of situations and a lot of opportunities in the past. Just go straight ahead. Nothing can stop if you just believe in it.”

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