Melody showed up at Steepletown in 2018 to complete the GED. At the time, Melody was a coffee barista and and enjoyed going to the movies and the beach with her friends. Although the GED Ready practice tests showed she was Very Likely to pass all four of them, she needed to get a Michigan State ID card to register for the tests. However, as she was enjoying life she just didn’t get around to getting her ID.
Melody’s case manager knew her career goal was to be a Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or a Surgeon, and called her about the Medical Assistant Registered Apprenticeship Program (MARAP). MARAP is an opportunity to be employed while training to become a Medical Assistant. Melody recognized this was a great opportunity to get a start on her medical career. So she made life happen by finally getting that State ID and passing the four GED tests in July 2019 so she could complete her application to MARAP. Fast forward to January 2021, Melody has just graduated as a certified Medical Assistant at Mercy Health.
Jane, her case manager, recently sat down with Melody to reflect on the whole process. “Was it worth it?” “Absolutely”, was the answer. Looking back now, Melody says when she came to Steepletown she hadn’t imagined that in two years she would have launched her medical career in such a manner and with so much support. “I never would have even known about MARAP without my case manager. She knew where I wanted to go with my life and made me aware of the opportunity!” Melody said that the financial support to cover the cost of tuition was huge in order for her to take this opportunity. But the additional financial support that paid for her driver’s license and the mileage reimbursement to cover gas were just as important over the course of the year.
When asked about other things she learned, Melody responded that it was a big adjustment going from being a barista to a very professional medical environment. She had to learn quickly how to communicate differently, plan ahead and pay attention to details. Her advice to others looking at this opportunity is “be ready to learn”, from formal academics to hands on training and even how to function well in a professional environment. But, she quickly adds, “it is so worth it!” She is making over $15.00//hour, has full benefits, and is employed in a profession that will open many new avenues for employment.
Melody plans to keep working at Mercy Health to continue learning. At some point in the future she has dreams of moving out of state, and eventually going to study medicine in Europe – maybe get a PhD and create better treatments for neurological and mental health illnesses.
In an interesting turn of events, at the end of Melody’s apprenticeship, unknown to her and her case manager Jane at Steepletown, she was hired as a Medical Assistant for Jane’s primary care doctor.