Monday Oct 16th, 2017
“Even at the slightest bump in the road, I get nervous. And that gets me motivated,” Khadija Murray said.
In 2010 Khadija gave birth to her daughter – the year before she was supposed to graduate high school. This may have been a deterrent for some students but Khadija thought, “I had a pet peeve about being a statistic when I was pregnant. I didn’t want to be a statistic, so I had to finish school.”
And she did, right on time in the spring of 2011, earning her diploma from Independence Local High School in Baltimore.
Between 2011 and the present, Khadija has been to college, tried out several career paths, earned multiple certifications, completed internships and dozens of interviews.
For a time Khadija pursued a career in childcare, attending classes at Baltimore City Community College. Through BCCC’s work-study program, she had the opportunity to intern at a daycare center. She earned a 90-hour certification to work with preschool children and a 45-hour certification to work with infants and toddlers. She progressed to the level of Daycare Teacher. “Then I lost interest and the passion for working in childcare. Not because of the kids who I adored, but because of the management and some of the parents,” Khadija said.
From 2015 to 2016 Khadija worked at a hair salon as a personal assistant and had a host of night jobs. “I worked in retail on an overnight shift which was a bad schedule for me. Then I took a job doing inventory which I did not enjoy at all and next I worked for a janitorial company cleaning bathrooms which I enjoyed even less!” Khadija shared.
During her five years of working a variety of jobs and exploring careers, Khadija had applied to Sinai Hospital but had not received a request to be interviewed. Her cousin recommended the Healthcare Careers Alliance program and in March 2016, Khadija started the qualification process.
Healthcare Careers Alliance (HCA) is a program, funded through the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development that provides vocational and case management services to out-of-school youth who possess a GED or high school diploma and have a strong interest in entering the healthcare field.
Khadija attended the two-week job readiness skills training and then completed an eight-week paid internship as a medical transporter at Sinai. After the internship, she applied for a full-time position. “I thought the interview went really well and I certainly felt knowledgeable and confident about my ability to do the job,” Khadija said. “I felt deflated when I wasn’t offered the position.”
Charles Milburn and other staff from HCA counseled her to not give up. “They told me to be humble, bite the bullet and try a different department,” Khadija said. The program allowed her to circle back and go through a second internship, this time in the dietary department. “While I did not like the job, I was able to build relationships with other employees and that made it tolerable,” Khadija shared.
Outcomes & Benefits
In June 2017, with continued encouragement from Mr. Milburn, Khadija applied for and was offered a position as an Anesthesia Technician. She is in training for three months during which she will learn about supplies, instruments, and medications that are used in the operating room.
“The HCA program taught me how to communicate better and has helped me with my resume and interview skills. I have more confidence and I have learned to be extra considerate,” Khadija reflected. “This experience has helped me meet my goal of steady employment with a decent wage. I have to be good at making sure that I have a job and that I can provide for my daughter.”
“In the next five years, I’m going to be happy in life. I’ll still be here at Sinai while I also go back to school so I can make advancements. I’ll have a car, save some money and maybe travel to Aruba,” Khadija said confidently.