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Graduation just the beginning for MCDI class

Helen Caulton-Harris is seen with with graduate Jennifer Beany. Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD For 17 young women their graduation from the certified Nurse's Aid Training Program at the Massachusetts Career Development Institute (MCDI) may mean their start in furthering their career in health services.

Helen Caulton-Harris, the city's Director of Health and Human Services, looked around the room at the graduates and noted some of them will undoubtedly go on to train as nurses and nurse practitioners.

"I know there's some physicians in this room," she added with a smile.

The young women made up the 100th class MCDI has offered for the certificate program. In the over twenty years of the program's existence, more than 1,500 students have completed the eight-weeks of training.

Instructor Donna Whalen explained to Reminder Publications the graduates don't need a high school diploma or a GED for the program, although many of the students have elected to earn their GED while in the program. There is a 92 to 94 percent job placement rate for the graduates who find work primarily in nursing homes and group homes as nurse's aides, she said.

Starting hourly rates are between $9 and $9.50 an hour for day shift, Whalen added. The positions generally have benefits as well.

The program is provided in collaboration with the local Department of transitional Assistance Offices, Future Works and Career Point, the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County and the Jewish Nursing Home.

The graduates of the 100th class were: Migdalia Rodriguez, Kasandra Santara, Dalmary Santiago, Donna Tellier, Rose Martinez, Jomera McCants, Sharon Jackson, Whitney Keaton, Janie Melendez, Jennifer Beany, Rosa Rodriguez, Mayra De Jesus, Tamara Vazquez, Mayra Encarnacion, Katie Desnoyers, Sara Douglas and Crystal Patrick.