Tunxis Community College held a virtual graduation ceremony on Dec. 10 for graduates of its certified nurse aide and sterile processing technician programs, made possible through a new scholarship that provides free, short-term retraining for in-demand health careers to workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tunxis is one of the largest training providers for the statewide initiative, funded by a $127,000 grant administered by Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) with support from CT Department of Economic and Community Development/CARES Act.
During the video conference ceremony, Tunxis virtually conferred certified nurse aide and sterile processing technician certificates to 53 graduates, who completed their six- and eight-week coursework through a combination of online and in-person instruction.
“I would like to commend our students for having the courage and persistence to undertake this important training in the midst of a pandemic, said Eileen Peltier, chief regional workforce officer of the North-West region of Connecticut Community Colleges, who led the training initiative for Tunxis. “Residents of Connecticut need you, and you are meeting the moment.”
Tunxis certified nurse aide graduate Jazzmyne Mitchell shared her personal story of her journey to graduation. Her family was directly affected by the pandemic when they lost her uncle to COVID-19. That loss helped push her to pursue a new career path. “I wanted to work in the medical field to help slow down this disease that’s affecting millions of families like my own,” said Mitchell. During the pandemic, she was also laid off from her job and lost her grandmother to cancer.
“This program really helped me get that hope and motivation back that I needed to go into the world and make a difference,” Mitchell continued, noting she woke up at 5 each morning, riding on three buses to get to Tunxis. “The training I received was intense, but it taught me everything I needed to know to go out into this field and really know what I’m doing.” Since graduating, Mitchell passed her state exam and is interviewing for jobs as a CNA.
“Completing your training during these extraordinary times tells all of us that nothing will stop you from achieving any goals you put your mind to,” said Dr. James Lombella, North-West regional president of the Connecticut Community Colleges, in his address to graduates. “This ability to stay focused and follow through on your commitment will serve you well in your new workplace.”
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Dr. Darryl Reome, Tunxis campus CEO, and Mark Argosh, chair of the Governor’s Workforce Council, were among other leaders who addressed the graduating class.
The scholarship program covered students’ tuition for the six and eight-week programs, as well as career counseling, interview preparation, job placement assistance, technology resources, and a stipend for transportation and expenses. In addition to CWP, other partners that supported the program included the Governor’s Workforce Council, Social Venture Partners International, and Career Resources.
Tunxis Community College is commemorating its 50th anniversary of education and service in its communities in 2020, and the 20th anniversary of satellite facility Tunxis@Bristol. Tunxis first opened for classes in 1970 with 494 students, and today approximately 6,000 students enroll each semester in more than 70 credit and continuing education programs as they prepare for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need.
Since the first graduation in 1972, approximately 14,712 credit graduates have been awarded 18,215 degrees and certificates from Tunxis.
Tunxis Class of 2020 Workforce Development & Continuing Education Graduates:
(Graduates reside in Bloomfield, Bristol, Broad Brook, East Hartford, Ellington, Farmington, Hartford, Manchester, Meriden, New Britain, Newington, Plainville, Plantsville, Southington, Torrington, and West Hartford.)
Desiree Ford Certified Nurse Aide
Jaida Hampton Certified Nurse Aide
Jazmin Johnson Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Ferrouja Kebaili Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Mak Miller Certified Nurse Aide
Eunice Akyeampong Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Franklina Davies Certified Nurse Aide
Destiny Leach Certified Nurse Aide
Rita Lino Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Jazzmyne Mitchell Certified Nurse Aide
Nia Myers Certified Nurse Aide
Bridget Owusuaa Certified Nurse Aide
Cynthia Rolon Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Lori Thomas Certified Nurse Aide
Jessica Kelsey Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Felicia Frederick Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Aliyah Freeman Johnson Certified Nurse Aide
Sandra Garrido Certified Nurse Aide
Dejah Glenn Certified Nurse Aide
Dexter Henry Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Leticia Henry Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Tamecia James Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Randall Leach Certified Nurse Aide
Dawn Lewis Certified Nurse Aide
Natasha McDonald Certified Nurse Aide
Denisha Peterson Certified Nurse Aide
Tia Robinson Certified Nurse Aide
Dyarma Rosa Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Nikita Santos Certified Nurse Aide
Eonni Whitley Certified Nurse Aide
Megan Callahan Certified Nurse Aide
Caitlin Mullinar Certified Nurse Aide
Alaysia Zaikarite Certified Nurse Aide
Crystal Donovan Certified Nurse Aide
Ashley Arias Certified Nurse Aide
Natoria Buxton Certified Nurse Aide
Patricia Gannon Certified Nurse Aide
Brittany Gueco Certified Nurse Aide
Raquel Hill Certified Nurse Aide
Ruth Marie Texidor Certified Nurse Aide
Harley Bouchard Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Sandra Sacco Certified Nurse Aide
Shantee Torregano Certified Nurse Aide
Erica Coyne Certified Nurse Aide
Mackenzie Mitchell Certified Nurse Aide
Derek Angelone Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Caitlyn Gelfand Certified Sterile Processing Technician
Benjamin Black Certified Nurse Aide
Amy Brescia Certified Nurse Aide
Elizabeth Chechoski Certified Nurse Aide
Kathleen Mayo Certified Nurse Aide
Hadauna Sooman Certified Nurse Aide
Gerald Walker Certified Nurse Aide