‘They help you live your best life:’ Stacy Ross on how HireLocal equipped her for success

At HireLocal, we walk with our students beyond their CNA certifications. That walk continues beyond their first job. We are here when they need us.

This summer, Stacy Ross inquired about pursuing a new role in the medical field. She had graduated from our program the year prior and secured a job at a local hospital. However, a family situation resulted in her availability shifting, forcing her to resign from her position.

After weeks of sending out applications, she hadn’t heard back from anyone. So, she contacted our team.

“I reached out to Latasha at HireLocal to see if they could help,” Ross said. “She got back to me the same day. I had just done an application online for Baptist Memorial Hospital that morning. The next day, Hire got in touch with Baptist, and the day after, I had an interview scheduled for the following Monday.”

Later that week, Stacy landed the role at Baptist in assistant patient care! She is training with them and ramping up to full-time work with a schedule that fits her husband’s job schedule and her children’s school schedule.

(HireLocal) genuinely cares about you as a person, not just as a worker,” Ross said. “They help you live your best life in and outside work. They help you network and connect you to people who will help you reach your goals. You won’t find anybody with the same attitude that they have. Everybody there is so excited to give you so many resources and see you succeed!”

We’re thrilled to see Stacy thriving in the medical field again and are thankful for her continued trust in our staff and program. Last month, she sat down with us to share her CNA journey. We encourage you to read if you’re wondering how HireLocal can change your life.

Q: Where did your passion for caretaking come from?

A: I’ve always had a passion for caring for others. I care for my parents. My dad is in his late 70s, and my mom is in her 60s, so I’m always helping. I also have a brother who recently got a kidney transplant. So, I’m walking through his journey as well. And I have my children that I take care of. I just have a passion and a heart for people.

Q: When did you become interested in pursuing a career in the medical field?

A: I have a friend who’s been a CNA for ten years now, and I brought up my interest. She sent me a link to HireLocal one day and encouraged me to check them out. I saw that they helped with getting your CNA certification and finding a job afterward. So, I looked into it, and I went ahead and applied in February of last year and started their Soft Skills class in March. After I went through the soft skills class, I transitioned into going into CNA class to get my certification.

Q: Did attending a soft skills course before going to CNA training help you?

A: I didn’t realize there was an expectation of prior CNA certification. But, they let me stay and go through the soft skills class and helped me enroll at Career Academy. It was helpful on the front end because it let me know what I would be stepping into career-wise. Hearing other people’s stories who were already certified helped me learn the pros and cons of the field. I learned that as a CNA, you can work in a hospital, be on private duty, travel, and more. It all made me decide that this was something that I wanted to do. They gave me the drive that I needed.

Q: Is there a specific memory that sticks out in your time in the soft skills course?

A: One young lady I worked with during class was a private-duty certified nursing assistant caring for her nephew. And it was cool to learn that you can take care of your family members through your job while still making money to support your family.

Q: After achieving your certification comes job shadowing. What were your biggest takeaways from that experience?

A: The first day I went, I did a couple of hours of shadowing with one of the nurses. She showed me how they answered the patient’s room, checked their vitals, and communicated with their parents. The biggest thing I learned was how important it was to multitask. There’s always something happening, and you have to be ready. After job shadowing, I landed a night shift role at a local hospital.

Q: How was your experience there? 

A: I loved it! It was a great experience. I had a lot of great co-workers who treated me like family. I had a great trainer when I first came on, who helped me settle quickly. So, just being able to be around kids all day. And I was blessed to work in the infant toddler unit. They felt like my own kids in a way. Eventually, I could no longer work that schedule, so I needed to find a new position.

Q: What led you to your current position at Baptist?

A: My husband and I were blessed to move to a new home. I applied to some places in our new area and did a couple of interviews but didn’t hear back from anyone. So, I reached out to Latasha at HireLocal to see if they could help. She got back to me the same day. I had just done an application online for Baptist Memorial Hospital that morning. The next day, Hire got in touch with Baptist, and the day after, I had an interview scheduled for the following Monday. My interviewer already knew I was interested and had read my resume. I told her a little bit about my background while we toured, and at the end, she said, “Well, if you’re interested…” I was like, I’m definitely interested! I got an offer that evening. Then he called me and said I’d hear back from him by Thursday or Friday. And, when I say they were moving fast, he called me back Thursday, and I was cleared. I went and took my physical on Monday of this week, and they called me yesterday, and everything came back fine! So, it was just an exciting journey. They were so interested in hiring me that it made me even more excited to start.

Q: What is your role there?

A: It is called assistant patient care. We are still doing certified nursing assistant things, but they just have a different title. This role gets my foot in the door. I’ll still be taking care of patients, taking their vitals, and helping them with their everyday needs, like bathing them, providing toiletries, and things of that nature. Once I get more experience at Baptist, I’ll apply for an official CNA position.

Q: Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals in this field?

A: It’s funny because my husband and I were talking about this yesterday. I’m currently looking into Southwest to be a physical therapist assistant possibly. I talked to an advisor a while back, but I need to get things financially stable and settled with my kids and their schooling before pursuing that. Once my kids get a little bit older, I will look into this more. 

Q: For someone interested in becoming a CNA, would you recommend HireLocal? And if so, why?

A: I definitely recommend HireLocal. You will work with people who genuinely care about you as a person, not just as a worker. They help you live your best life in and outside work. They help you network and connect you to people who will help you reach your goals. You won’t find anybody with the same attitude that they have. Everybody there is so excited to give you so many resources and see you succeed!

‘HireLocal always makes me feel comfortable:’ Lucillar King on achieving her CNA dreams

“HireLocal was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.”

After assisting her grandparents for multiple years after each suffered a stroke, Lucillar King knew where she wanted her career to be in healthcare. Specifically, she wanted to become a registered nurse and assist aging adults full-time.

She pursued certifications off and on for five years while working various roles in the field but felt stuck, making little progress, burdened by lengthy time commitments, and walled by high costs. Then, her sister recommended Career Academy.

“I was immediately drawn to the fact it was a fast program,” King said. “In just four weeks, I could get CNA certified and begin a job search process.”

Lucillar flew through her coursework, learning the most from the hands-on exercises. While in class, she was connected with HireLocal to pursue soft-skills training and job shadowing opportunities.

“They helped me maintain my energy and attitude, taught me how to better communicate with others, and just how to be a professional,” King said. “HireLocal was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Without their job shadowing, I wouldn’t have gotten my current job.”

Lucillar attended a job shadowing session at Baptist Memorial Hospital’s Walnut Grove campus in May. She met the staff there, ran through mock exercises, and landed an interview.

Eager to land a role, she leaned on HireLocal’s interview training. She was high-energy and asked an assortment of follow-up questions. By the end, Baptist had not one but three possible roles for her.

“The role I was hired in is a CNA position in the Emergency department,” King said. “But the interview went so well that they told me if that position didn’t work out, they had two other options, one in ICU. I felt so wanted by Baptist, which gave me confidence that it was where I was supposed to be.”

Last month, Lucillar started her role at Baptist and is loving it. But she’s far from satisfied. Before her first shift, she connected with HireLocal to lay a plan for her next few years with the goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.

She enrolled in the Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s (TCAT) nursing program. By the end of fall 2024, she will have her nursing degree. After years of making little headway, Lucillar now feels ahead of the curve.

“I’ve been wanting to get things done for a long time, and Hire(Local) laid out each step I needed to take,” King said. “It felt as easy as one, two, three.”
Lucillar is still in regular contact with our team, updating us on her successes and prepping for her upcoming coursework. Balancing school, work, and family life is no small task, but we’re here for her to lean on.

“Hire(Local) always makes me feel comfortable,” King said. “And that’s what I’d tell anyone interested in pursuing CNA certification. Rather than some expensive four-year program, I got certified in less than a year.”

If you’re looking to get out of your job rut or avoid getting into one in the first place, enroll in one of our upcoming CNA training courses and let us guide you to your dream healthcare role! Click the link to learn more.

‘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.”

Learn more about our program by clicking here!

Explore our partner’s, Methodist Le Bonheur, extensive employee benefits by clicking here!

‘I know I’m called to do this’: Naba Mambureh on chasing her dream

For Naba Mambureh, helping others is not just something she does for work. Helping others is the defining principle with which she lives her life. 

Growing up in The Gambia in West Africa, Naba saw empathy and care exemplified by medical workers in her community. Their selflessness instilled a passion for walking with others in difficult times and a love for healthcare.

“Helping others has been a part of who I am for a long time,” Naba said. “Growing up and seeing those in the medical field around me, I saw how important medical workers were in peoples’ most vulnerable moments. By the time I got to high school, I knew I wanted to become a nurse.”

In high school, Naba gravitated towards science classes, further fanning the flames of future medical pursuits. After high school, Naba and her sister, Fatou, immigrated to the U.S., settling in Memphis because of established familial ties.  

After adjusting to her new home, Naba enrolled in CNA courses in August 2020. While attending, she received an email from her program with information about HireLocal’s soft skills program. Itching to make connections and kickstart her career, Naba applied and was accepted.

“I learned important skills that went beyond healthcare,” Naba said. “They taught work ethics, digital citizenship, and common workplace practices. But most importantly, they helped me make connections with Methodist hospitals.”

Once Naba completed HireLocal’s soft skills program, we remained connected. While working at a Methodist Hospital as a CNA, Naba turned her sights to a nursing degree. She enrolled at The Tennessee College of Applied Technology

“When I applied for The Tennessee College of Applied Technology, HireLocal was there for me,” Naba said. “They reached out before my interview and helped me prep. Once you go through their courses, they don’t leave you. They are always there to help you tackle certain questions and situations.”

Energized from her experience with HireLocal, Naba encouraged her sister, Fatou, to enroll. Now, Fatou is also making strides in her medical career, working at the same hospital as Naba. 

This past month, Naba graduated from TCAT as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Although her coursework was laborious, she describes her shifts at Methodist on weekends as the fuel that kept her fire for the field burning. 

“Every time I hit that nursing floor, I get fired up. It’s like something is injected into me,” Naba said. “Having days away from school and living out what I’m called to do always reminded me during my classwork that I can succeed and must succeed because I love to do this.”

That thrill hasn’t left her. Even after graduation, each subsequent shift is just as exhilarating as the last. 

“Patient care is the most exciting and motivating thing for me,” Naba said. “We have patients where it’s no longer easy for them just to be human. When things like drinking water, eating, and other things they’re used to doing for themselves suddenly become hard, it has a profound effect.”

“Being the person in their life to have that empathy and compassion to dig in and care about their situation and help them through it is meaningful to me,” Nada continued. “When you’re genuine in your care, you can see the light on patients’ faces return when you help them.”

Now a licensed nurse, Naba is working towards securing a role as an LPN. She’s taking life step by step but enjoys every minute of her journey regardless of obstacles thrown her way. 

“Be patient with your patients, and take it moment by moment because they need that,” Nada said. “Even when I’m exhausted from a long shift, I still love it because I know this is my path. I am called to do this.”

‘Be the change you want to see’: Jamaia Chase’s CNA journey

Sometimes our callings find us before we realize it. Such is true for Jamaia Chase.

Jamaia graduated high school in 2020. A season of change that is already difficult for everyone was only complicated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Photo of Jamaia Chase

With campuses closed and class options limited to online, Jamaia followed in her mother’s footsteps and applied to Liberty University. There, she chose to study pre-law, pulling on her desire to help others and her community. At the same time, she was working as a caregiver.

“I had to become a caregiver at 18 years old because my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer,” Chase said. “It was the end of my junior year, and her cancer spread quickly, so I had to help my mom, aunt, and official caregivers with keeping up with medications, attending to her, and being intentional in spending time with her. Eventually, I applied for an official caregiver position because I had enough experience to do the job well.”

While keeping up and excelling at her pre-law studies, Jamaia began working with patients of all ages. At every turn, she allowed her experience of caring for her grandmother to guide her actions and attitude toward patients.

“While many people who cared for my grandmother were nice, there were also some who simply showed up to get the job done,” Chase said. “Some would come in, not speak, do their tasks, and then leave. I think the least a caregiver can do is provide a smiling face. I make sure I listen to my patients and take time to read with them, do puzzles, and play games.”

For two years, Jamaia balanced her caregiving work with her pre-law classes. Although it was never her initial goal, she realized that caregiving had become more than a job. It is her calling.

“I always wanted to help people, and I believed the law field was where I was meant to be,” Chase said. “But this year realized that I’m already living the lifestyle I want to live and making an impact right now in healthcare.”

After leaving her law program, she decided that the first thing she needed to do was become a certified nursing assistant. While looking for options, her close friend Layla was already going through CNA classes and recommended HireLocal.

Jamaia applied shortly after and joined their essential skills training course. 

“From day one, they have been on point and helped me pursue this career,” Chase said. “What has stuck out the most is their wisdom on change.”

“Most people think that change means doing something different,” Chase continued. “My instructor told us that change can also be adding something new to what we’re already doing rather than trying to fit somewhere we’re not meant to be.”

Jamaia is now charging full speed ahead into her CNA career through HireLocal’s program. After becoming a CNA, she wants to work via ShiftKey, a platform that allows users to bid on shifts they want to work on their own time. By building her schedule, Jamaia can go back to school to pursue her Nursing degree. 

Although she does not know what hospital or clinic she wants to work at after college, she knows she wants to remain in Memphis and sees impacting her hometown as a necessity, not an option.

“I know I want to stay in Memphis,” Chase said. “I’ve always been big on the mantra ‘be the change you want to see,’ and I feel like if you can’t make an impact in your hometown, how do you expect to make a change elsewhere?”

Jamaia did not expect to pursue this career, but it found her nonetheless. Through her determination and with the help of HireLocal, she is poised to thrive in the Memphis healthcare community.

For those considering a CNA career, Jamaia believes HireLocal will equip you for success.

“If you’re thinking about taking this leap, stop thinking and make the jump,” Chase said. “They go beyond preparing you for exams and teach you skills that you may not think you need at the moment but will realize later on are vital.”

We’re proud of the incredible journey Jamaia has traveled so far, and we know even greater things are in store for her.