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Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program Paves Way for Healthcare Career


Tishella knew she wanted to work in healthcare, but her academic history, financial situation, and lack of experience were stacked against her. The Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program's tuition assistance offered her the help she needed to get ahead. She has now completed Phlebotomy training, earned her National Healthcareer Association certification, and gained employment at Chippewa County War Memorial. This is her story.


“At the early age of eight months old I was left at a babysitter’s house with my mother nowhere in sight. The police came and brought me to my grandparents’ house, my grandparents’ kept me in foster care hoping that one day my mother would step up to the plate and take care of my older brother and I. That day never came, so they decided to adopt me around 2008. You would think being removed from one bad situation would save me from another, however over the course of my upbringing I went through nothing but problems. I was diagnosed with ODD (obsessive defiance disorder), anxiety, and depression at a very young age. Around 2018, I was placed on juvenile probation for an altercation between my grandfather and I and I was failed by the court system. Most of my teen years I spent owned by the state of Michigan when I shouldn’t have.


I knew since the age of about nine that I wanted to do something in the health care field. I went from wanting to be a doctor, nurse, surgeon, gynecologist, etc. and two years ago I made up my mind of what I wanted to go to college for. I knew I wanted to do something in the women’s health field but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I found a program through Grand Valley State University to be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. There were multiple options of specialties you could choose from, but knowing I wanted to do something in women’s health, I wanted to specialize in giving ultrasounds to patients sent from their gynecologist (ex. pregnant women).


I didn’t do very well in high school, so I had the lowest expectancy on getting into GVSU. But fall 2021 came, I applied, and they accepted me under academic probation. Since Grand Valley doesn’t accept financial aid, I instead decided to start my journey in my hometown at LSSU. Since fall of 2022, I have attended LSSU, passed all of my classes, was removed from academic probation, and gained a GPA of 2.8 for the year. Applications for the program open in the fall of this year, one of the requirements is to have healthcare experience. [another obstacle!]


About a year ago, I was looking for a way into the healthcare field and stumbled across NCMC’s fast track program. Since I was little, I always enjoyed getting my blood drawn and watching the blood trickle down into the tube. They had a fast track phlebotomy program that was stated to take four weeks total and you could gain a national certification. I signed up for the program and started it towards the end of my first semester of college. Since I live in the Sault, it took a while to get a partnership going with my local hospital so I could complete my clinicals. The program was from October to December but it took me until April of the following year to get my certification.


While I was doing my clinicals at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault, I formed a relationship with the staff in just a week. That’s when I was offered a position as a certified phlebotomist. I started my employment just a few weeks later and since then have gained friendships with multiple people on staff including lab techs, ER staff, radiology, etc. Without the help I received from Michigan Works and the Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program to pay for the NCMC program, I would not be where I am today, I would not have gained friendships that I hope to keep for a lifetime, I would have no experience in healthcare, and I would not have the ability to be certified nation-wide in a field I can fall back on for the rest of my life. Thank you!”


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