Young residents of Austin/Travis County who are interested in job skills training and employment opportunities can find them with Workforce Solutions Capital Area and partners like American YouthWorks (AYW). That’s what Katy Moreno began doing in 2018, and today Katy is progressing toward a career in Austin’s growing healthcare industry.
Katy joined AYW in 2018, and met with Lindsey Martinez, Youth Services Career Case Manager, who assisted Katy in enrolling in YouthBuild. This youth services program combines academics with career training, leadership development, and community service at no cost to students.
Katy earned her GED with AYW in December 2018. Additional assistance she received included an internship in the Health Corp program at AYW and building a resume.
“When Katy first came into the program, she had a past of struggling with school in a traditional setting but found her way when she came to the doors of AYW’s GED program,” Lindsey said.
Taking the first steps of her healthcare career, Katy next earned her Community Health Worker (CHW) and Nursing Assistant certifications in the Health Corps program. Health Corps combines classroom training with hands-on skills and certiﬁcations. Students gain practical experience doing screenings at community health fairs, organizing blood donation events, or volunteering with local care providers.
“I’m an independent person, so when it comes to having to study and get in my zone to pass my tests, I pushed myself to the limit. I studied for two months at AYW, and when no one else attended after clinicals, I created ideas and study tactics on my own like doing blood pressure tests on staff,” said Katy.
“Katy is very resourceful and on top of her game. She has learned to advocate for herself in order to receive the help and guidance that she is needing,” Lindsey said.
As an intern with Health Corps, Katy mentored and tutored other students throughout their time in clinicals and assisted with service projects like blood drives.
“Because of this, AYW staff asked Katy to come on as an AmeriCorps member to continue to serve the students in a program that Katy herself once attended,” Lindsey said.
Now as an AmeriCorps member at AYW, Katy serves as a positive role model to the youth attending school there: “I plan and create hands-on activities and service projects. Right now, I am working on a mural of all the Health Corps pathways,” Katy said.
“I am showing the steps toward a job in eight healthcare occupations. From CHW, you can be a healthcare educator or attorney, for example, and I’m mapping all that to have all the information right in front of the students,” said Katy.
The CHW and Nursing Assistant certifications were just the beginning for Katy’s healthcare education, and she has also earned educational aide and special educational aide certifications: “I’m trying to take as many classes and earn as many certifications as I can within the healthcare field,” she said.
“I really want to earn my Phlebotomist and Licensed Vocational Nurse certifications next. I will attend Austin Community College and I am currently working on my FAFSA form,” she said.
“I really like being able to share information related to what I’ve learned and having my certifications allows me to do that,” Katy said.
“Katy is a great example of someone who takes advantage of all opportunities for growth and advancement. She wants to continue to gain experience in the health field so that she can become a nurse. All of Katy’s hard work should be recognized!” Lindsey said.
For Katy, it’s important for young Austin residents pursuing their education and job skills to understand that it can’t all be done right away: “Sometimes young people may want everything right away, like a job, and that can take time to happen. I spoke with some students who left because they didn’t want to wait three months to complete the certification class. They didn’t realize that’s free knowledge and experience they could have gained,” she said.
“Some students may not want to take certifications, but it’s the little things that make you qualified for jobs and earn you more experience,” Katy said.
About WIOA Youth
WIOA Youth is part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program funded through Workforce Solutions Capital Area. WIOA is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. WIOA offers financial assistance to eligible individuals for job search assistance, training, and other support services.
Visit our WIOA page to learn more.