Success for Kaitlyn

The first time Kaitlyn Gragg heard of NCWorks she was in her nursing assistant orientation.

The meeting was held at the NCWorks Career Center in Boone, and a staff person told the group about a scholarship opportunity through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for students who were eligible.  Unsure that she would qualify, Kaitlyn filled out the application anyway.

Kaitlyn had not received FAFSA or any other scholarships for school since right out of high school.  Her college journey had started three years earlier and abruptly ended; dropping out of Appalachian State University after about half a semester so she could begin working full-time to pay her bills.

She was surprised to receive a call from NCWorks asking her to come in to discuss the details of the scholarship which included keeping in regular contact with her career advisor  to see how school was going, submit her grades each semester, and meet with them before tuition was due to discuss her plan and how much financial assistance they would be able to offer.

The nursing assistant course was the first college class Kaitlyn had taken since dropping out, and she was worried about how to come up with enough money for the class.  NCWorks paid for the course and reimbursed her for scrubs, supplies, and books.  She successfully completed the course and was able to start a new job as a nursing assistant in 2016.  Determined to keep going and ultimately become a registered nurse, Kaitlyn took more classes – only two or three at a time as she was still working full-time.  NCWorks stepped in and was able to assist with the cost of these classes.

When it came time to apply for the nursing program, NCWorks was able to help Kaitlyn pay for the admission test.  Unfortunately, she was not accepted the first time.  However, Kaitlyn turned this into a positive by spending the following year taking additional classes to help boost her next application. On her second try, Kaitlyn was accepted into the nursing program at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI).

Once Kaitlyn received a cost breakdown of the nursing program, she set up a meeting with her career advisor, and they planned how to pay all the costs associated with the program.  Kaitlyn said this was the hardest part of her school journey because there was so much that needed to be purchased and little money on both ends. The program requires 10-15 expensive textbooks, clinical kits and supplies, specific scrubs with printed logo, shoes, as well as tuition and fees.  As a result, Kaitlyn had to get a credit card to pay for the books, NCWorks paid for half the tuition each semester with Kaitlyn’s parents helping with the other half.

Kaitlyn kept in touch with her career advisor monthly, submitted her grades, and made plans for the upcoming semesters. “Not only did my family want to see me succeed in this program, but so did my advisor and all of the NCWorks family,” Kaitlyn said.

Kaitlyn graduated from CCC&TI in May of 2020 as a Registered Nurse and passed her state boards test.  NCWorks offered to pay the $200 cost of the test, and so Kaitlyn and her career advisor sat down together again to pay for one last test.

She says, “I am forever grateful for the help! I went from a college drop-out, working two jobs to stay afloat to a registered nurse who pays her own bills, lives away from her parents in an apartment, and has her dream job at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. I want to thank the staff who helped me turn my life around. The staff at NCWorks believed in my ability to succeed and pushed me to where I am now! Thank you so much NCWorks staff and the WIOA scholarship!”