On Tuesday, August 15, Mi Casa Resource Center celebrated the first graduating class of its new Medical Office Administrative Assistant training program. The innovative new workforce development training, which serves underrepresented women and Latinx members of the community was created in partnership with UnidosUS, The Economic Development Agency (EDA) and Arapahoe Community College.
Mi Casa Resource Center partnered with ACC to create the Medical Office Administrative Assistant training to provide real world skills needed to get an entry level career in the field. Skills covered in the program include using electronic healthcare record (EHR) office systems, insurance, HIPPAA certification and the durable skills needed for the job.
The 6-week intensive yet flexible program meets the needs of Mi Casa participants and gives them the option to receive up to 7 prior learning assessment credits with their final portfolios. These prior learning assessment credits can be used toward medical certificates and apprenticeships through ACC, saving participants time and money.
When participants come through the door at Mi Casa from all walks of life, they sign up for the program and leave with job skills and an option to pursue higher education, when they may have previously seen this as unattainable.
14 participants completed this inaugural class and the atmosphere at graduation was full of pride, joy, and accomplishment. Graduates brought their families, parents, spouses, and children. Angeles Ortega, the CEO of Mi Casa, kicked the event off with a welcome and an overview of the almost 50-year-old resource center, which has become a staple in the Denver community for workforce development, entrepreneurship, and supplemental services such as ESL and digital and financial literacy classes.
Karen Garcia, ACC Medical Office Technology Faculty and Chair, was instrumental in developing the program for Mi Casa and is also the trainer for the first two cohorts of the training. Garcia delivered an inspirational speech, highlighting the graduates’ “determination and guts to be able to come to class every week with all of the busy things going on in their lives such as being parents and having full time jobs.” She invited three graduates to share their stories, which brought tears to everyone in attendance. Graduate Erika Animas explained “I am so grateful to Karen and Mi Casa and the program. Mi Casa has always been there for me and holds a special place in my heart.” Graduates spoke of their dreams to advance their careers and be an example to their children and the importance of having plans for the future.
Some graduates already have plans to continue their journey and become college students at ACC in the fall or spring semester. Esparanza Ramirez, a Mi Casa Medical Office Administrative Assistant graduate was there with her children. She will start a Medical Assistant Apprenticeship through ACC this fall. She gave thanks to Mi Casa and ACC for giving her this opportunity.
The final remarks were given by Brent Edwards of Mi Casa and Workforce & Community Programs’ Amber Tolliver, who recognized the work and partnerships that had been made for this new program by ACC, UnidosUS and Mi Casa. UnidosUS representatives from Washington DC and El Paso, Texas also attended this historic graduation.
For information about Mi Casa and their programs, visit the Mi Casa Resource Center website.
By: Brent Edwards, Assistant Director of Education and Outreach at Mi Casa Resource Center