The second time Santrice Hailey sought educational opportunities at Northeastern Technical College, she was focused on one goal: learning new job skills that would put her back in the workforce. The certificates she earned through Northeastern Technical College's Continuing Education Division did just that, and she is now the site manager for CareSouth Carolina's facilities in Chesterfield County.
Hailey, of Cheraw, worked as a machine operator for seven years at Galey & Lord in Society Hill before she was laid off in 2003. Hailey took this as an opportunity to pursue new job skills at NETC, something she tried to do after graduating high school but wasn't able to complete.
"It was very hard attending NETC the first time when I was trying to work and raise a family. I was married and had kids, and work took priority over what I was trying to do at the College," Hailey said. "But I never lost sight of returning to get my education and some training."
When she was laid off, Hailey was able enroll in NETC's Continuing Education classes through the Workforce Investment Act, a federal program that provides individuals access to training that helps prepare them for work. At NETC, she took a skills placement test that indicated she would be suited for a job in medical office support.
She began taking classes geared toward the medical field such as nursing assistant, phlebotomy, ward clerk and physical therapy assistant to earn certificates in these areas.
"Attending NETC was a good experience because I enjoyed being back in the classroom," Hailey said. "I was surprised to see the variety of ages, from teens to 40- and 50-year-olds, on campus, and there were a lot of people my age who had been laid off as well."
Hailey was also pleased by how helpful the College faculty and staff were, from getting her enrolled in the right classes to the extra time instructors were willing to give students outside of normal classroom hours.
"I was also a different student my second time around at Northeastern Technical College. I was more focused on learning the skills I needed so I could go back to work," Hailey said.
The multiple certificates she'd earned at NETC eventually paid off and she went to work for Dr. Marvin Sto Domingo in his Physical Therapy Office in Lancaster. After working there for nearly a year, she accepted a job with CareSouth Carolina in Society Hill as a medical office assistant.
At CareSouth, Hailey quickly rose through the ranks to her current position as site manager.
"NETC was directly involved in getting me where I am today," she said. "I am so passionate about my job at CareSouth. We're not just a medical facility; we're meeting a variety of needs for the community. Our staff is very sympathetic to the needs of our patients, whether they're just coming in to escape the heat or need help paying a light bill. We're here to help others."
Sitting at her desk in her office where she has a view of Third Street in historic downtown Cheraw, Hailey still remembers her days working in an industrial plant.
"Northeastern Technical College was my pathway to a better life," she said.
Tags: Better Life
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