Brianna Smith- Career Center

Brianna Smith is a Knox County resident from Gray, KY. She came to KCEOC in need of assistance through the KCEOC KY Career Center Jobsight. Brianna was a new mother and looking for a way to advance her career for herself and her child.

Before coming into the Career Center, Brianna was working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for four years. She was a first time mother with a one year old at home. She always knew she wanted to go into nursing, but she just let life get in the way. She found it a challenge financially working and being a mother, and she knew something had to change.

Brianna’s father suggested the Career Center, and said Ali Hill, a Career Advisor, may be able to help. Brianna came to the Career Center because they helped her brother further his career. He became a lineman, right out of high school, and continuing to have a successful career. Brianna said, “Once I heard that they had a program that helped new moms go to nursing school, and they took the hardest thing out of the equation, finances, I knew I had to go in and talk to Ali.”

Brianna came to the Career Center in August 2017 and met with Ali. After an intake interview it was determined that Brianna qualified for the Out of School Youth Program. The Out of School Youth Program provides 18-24 year olds who are not attending school at the time of enrollment with a variety of services to obtain training and employment.

These services include: Career Advising, Career Exploration, Individual Employment Plans, review and discussion of Labor Market Information, assessments to determine interests and best fit for career choices, resume writing, job searching, assistance with tuition and books for approved training opportunities, work readiness training, and work experience programs. The participant works with their career advisor to determine which of these services are needed.

Brianna received career guidance, tuition assistance, supportive services (for books and supplies) for six semesters and exceeded the required GPA for the Out of School Youth program each semester.

Brianna’s experience at the Career Center was always a delight. She said everyone there, starting with the receptionist, was always so nice and happy to see new people. She went on to say, “Ali, though, was always on point and I never had to wait once when I went in for an appointment, being as busy as I was during this time made this even more appreciated. She was always attentive and efficient, along with the fact that we became friends as well. We always asked one another about how our lives were going and our babies.”

The Career Center helped remove the biggest burden when Brianna was going to college. Finances halted her from pursing her dream for so long. Not having the stress of finances helped Brianna go to school, excel, and graduate. Brianna said, “No matter if you get financial aid or loans or anything like that, not having the worry if you will be able to make it through without being in a bind was really nice.”

Brianna went on to say that the Career Center changed her life for the better. She was tired of living paycheck to paycheck. She knew she had her parents support, and her fiancé’s as well. She went on to say it changed their relationship as well since they are no longer struggling financially. The Career Center’s help made her life less stressful.

Brianna received an Associate Nursing Degree from Southeast Community College in May 2020. In July 2020, she passed her NCLEX and became a registered nurse. She received employment at St. Joseph in London, KY in August 2020. She is now going to The University of the Cumberlands to get her Bachelor’s in Nursing while she is working full-time. Brianna said, “Furthering my education is something I wish to do in all due time, and I’m going keep working on it.”

Brianna described her situation now as one that she is proud of. She said, “Although it’s rough right now due to the pandemic, I know nursing is not always this troubling. Working at St. Joseph in London has been one of the best things that could have happened to me. Meeting all the new people that have made such a huge impact not only in my career, but my life is amazing, and I love working there.” She went on to say her family has been such a huge support, and they are proud of what she has accomplished.

Brianna said that the Career Center was an amazing experience, and she could not thank them enough. She would have gone in debt going to school with loans, but the career center was there to help which made all the difference. She said, “Ali, along with all of the staff, has made such a huge impact in my life that I will always be grateful for! I will never forget my experience with the Career Center and Ali for doing all that they do.”