Megan Spaulding graduated from the Brockway Center for Arts and Technology Medical Assistant program two years ago. This single mom turned medical professional describes her new found career as “life-changing.”
Megan moved from Mercer County to Brockway to live with her parents shortly after her second baby was born. She hadn’t worked a job since 2008 and used the WIC program to make ends meet, but by 2016 she was ready to go to work. Megan had heard about BCAT from a family member, but hesitated to call. “I actually left a message on the machine saying, ‘maybe I’m not supposed to do this’ and hung up.” The next day Megan got a call back saying she could start tomorrow.
Though a whirlwind, Megan says she had to do something. “I have to think of the future for my kids.”
Now she works at the Cancer Center in Dubois and loves it. “People say I am so sweet. I just try to do the right thing.”
Even with family support, Megan admits going to school as a single mom was hard: “It was like a job. I had to drop off the kids, go to school and do my homework when they were home.” But a steady job with benefits has changed her life and outlook.
“So much has changed for my family. My brother likes to take my kids to Cedar Point. This year I can help pay for it, the room and everything. I was always hurting for money at Christmas time. Now I am able to go out and get gifts.”
Megan fully supports asking healthy people who receive assistance to work. “Everyone can give something back,” she says. For Megan, taking a step towards work gave her a new hope, something better for the future. She’s hopeful that someday she will have the chance to further her education as a registered nurse.
Megan is just one of over one hundred unemployed and underemployed Pennsylvanians the Brockway Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) has helped. Funded by private donations and public grants, BCAT operates two programs training nationally certified Medical Assistants and Pharmacy Technicians in seven north central Pennsylvania counties.
Executive Director Debbie Heigel and Assistant Administrator Nicole Snyder are committed to seeing each of the students succeed. Debbie says, “When someone enters the BCAT program they become part of a family.”
BCAT’s success in combating poverty is closely linked to their belief in the honest work as the pathway to permanent prosperity. They recognize people want to contribute to their communities and do meaningful work.
As the state Senate considers work requirement bills for food stamps and Medicaid they should keep in mind the powerful story of Megan and her fellow graduates Diane and Hillary. All three women show work truly is the pathway to prosperity.