Our Future: Emma Edwards’ Journey Through Camp’s Workforce Program
Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023
For Windsor native Emma Edwards, the Camp Community College’s Workforce Development program was just what she needed to jumpstart her career.
“I don’t know where I would be without workforce and their administration,” Edwards said. “It was definitely the right fit for me at this point in my life.”
In five months, Edwards completed the fast-track program to receive her Phlebotomy, EKG, and Medical Assistant certifications. She is now working at an OBGYN specialty office, the Women’s Care Centers in Norfolk, and at age 20, Edwards says she always wanted to be in the medical profession and hopes to obtain her Registered Nurse (RN) license, but has yet to decide what school she will attend.
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“My goal is to have finished with RN school, wherever that may be, I haven’t decided yet,” Edwards said. “And hopefully be working in labor and delivery, or NICU at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk.”
Edwards credits her instructor Dawn Hill, the Healthcare Program Director, with going above and beyond in preparing her students for life outside of the classroom, giving Edwards the confidence to succeed and advance to the next stage of her career.
“My instructor Miss [Dawn] Hill, she was a really great role model for me,” Edwards said. “Ms. Hill overachieved as well and taught extra details in case we were to come into a situation. So I think she set us up for success and a little bit more.”
Through the Workforce Development program, students also receive assistance preparing themselves for work.
“We make sure they have their resume ready, we make sure they do a portfolio, and we also send them to clinicals and that’s like an audition for a job,” Hill said.
The healthcare program at the school is available twice a year, once in the fall and another in January.
According to Director of Workforce Development Antoinette Johnson, Ed.D., this latest cohort saw its largest class of 48 students. There is a waiting list of students interested in participating in the upcoming January cohort that Johnson attributes to the increased need in the healthcare field.
“We’ve seen an increase in health care in general because of the demand in the healthcare field,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, the average class size before this last session was 25 to 30 students.
Workforce Development at Camp is not limited to just healthcare but also offers a variety of skilled trade programs and logistics certification programs. The college is building a Workforce Trades and Innovation Center offering maritime trade programs and is also the only crane operator program in the region.
At the community college level, Hill says they can offer a holistic approach and help students overcome barriers on an individual level.
“Something big here, especially at the workforce and in a small community college, we have a holistic approach,” Hill said. “We treat each student as an individual and assist with any individual needs as well.”
That approach is what Edwards has taken from her time at the college and hopes to take with her for the rest of her life.
“I think it’s prepared me really well,” Edwards said. “It taught me the basics of each one of the different certifications … they’re very close-knit and supportive throughout the whole process.”