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Student Profile: Alonna B.

With the birth of her son, Alonna decided she needed to change her life. As the result of the training she received through Futuro Health, Alonna has a bright future in a medical career that will provide for her and her child.

“I wouldn’t be in the medical field without Futuro,” Alonna says.

Alonna had been working as a nanny and other jobs to support herself, but after her son, Nazir, was born in October 2019, she started looking into career options.

“I felt like I wasn’t doing anything for myself,” she says. “I wanted to feel like I was doing something so I could take care of my son.”

She heard about Futuro Health through her social worker, and her stepmother, who works in hospice care at Kaiser Permanente, recommended her for the program. She met with a Futuro Health representative as part of the application process.

“I was nervous at first, but the interview went well,” she says. “I felt like I was on the right path.”

She started in July 2020, taking online classes in medical assisting five days a week. On Saturdays, she had in-person lab classes in San Francisco, which meant a four-hour ride on public transportation from her home in Fairfield to reach the school. She later transferred to the San Jose school to reduce her travel time.

Despite the rigorous schedule, Alonna said she appreciated the support she received from Futuro Health and from her fellow classmates, many of whom already work in healthcare. Her textbooks were free, and a help center offered support for homework and any website issues. Her only cost was the $20 monthly union dues she paid.

“I had things that I needed, and they provided all of that,” she says.

She says she particularly enjoyed the in-person lab classes, where she was able to see and practice skills such as learning how to help a patient out of a wheelchair.

“There’s something about the hands-on experience,” Alonna says. “Some things you have to do for yourself.”

She was trained in both medical assisting and phlebotomy and hopes to use both of her skills in any job she takes. After graduating last May, Alonna is now working at an externship at an Oakland medical clinic, where she’ll need 160 hours of experience to complete her requirements for the program.

Her job prospects are virtually assured. She would like to work at Kaiser Permanente, and she said a representative from the healthcare organization already called her to ask where she would like to work.

“It was just like a fairy godmother,” she says. “They told me, ‘As soon as you finish and take your test, just call us and we’ll place you somewhere.”

Alonna is looking forward to starting her new career that will provide for her and her two-year-old son and will also serve others.

“I’m definitely going to use my career to better my community,” she says. “I can be the voice for the patient.”