Rochelle Slaven of Dunkirk has found her dream job.
It didn't come easy, but she loves her job and the people she helps. Rochelle is a licensed practical nurse at the Chautauqua Center. She works within the team of providers at the center who deliver services that range from routine to urgent on a daily basis.
Rochelle's enthusiasm and passion for what she does is very apparent from the first time you meet her, but her journey to this point in her life has come with hard work, commitment and even some ups and downs. Her own background would mirror many young 20 somethings who are seeking their own career path and not quite sure where to turn.
Rochelle Slaven found her dream job as a licensed practical nurse thanks to the BOCES?and Cassadaga Job Corps Academy.
Rochelle graduated from Frewsburg High School in 2007 and immediately enrolled in college. She was certain that nursing was her chosen pathway and started toward her goal. She found out how competitive and challenging an RN program can be as she struggled to keep pace and on track. In two years she obtained an associate's degree, but not in the field she knew she wanted to work in. After graduating and working for a summer she found herself looking at her next step. She found a poster in a library advertising the Erie 2 BOCES School of Practical Nursing at the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy. She set out right away to learn more and start her application. After touring, passing the entrance exam and completing the interviews, she was accepted to the program.
Slaven said, "I was really excited to find an opportunity that was not going to require me to take out loans and have a huge debt hanging over my head. It was a big relief to find this when I did."
She enrolled in the program and set out to find her niche in healthcare. Rochelle stated, "The program was very challenging, especially the tests. I was really lucky to have a great class to go through it with, we were all close."
She cited the support of BOCES and Job Corps staff, along with her classmates as reasons she made it through. She also enjoyed her clinical experience, where she "learned while actually doing the work we need to do." She went on to say, "I also appreciated the support of my then fiance, now husband, for all he did to help me study and for understanding the rigors of the program." Slaven completed the lectures, group assignments, quizzes, clinical experiences and exams in 12 months.
After graduation, she immediately went to work in healthcare, first as a personal care aid, while she awaited her licensure exam. Once she obtained her practical nursing license she entered long-term care and worked in the field for two years until moving over to the Chautauqua Center. Although she really enjoyed her residents in long-term care, she appreciates the fast-paced setting and variety a clinical setting can offer. The Chautauqua Center, a federally qualified Health Center, has a mission to deliver comprehensive, high quality patient-centered health and support services in the Chautauqua region. Their patient-centered service principles are access, treatment, education, and prevention delivered by friendly and professional clinic and administrative teams.
The Chautauqua Center apparently appreciates Rochelle too, saying, "Rochelle is a very dedicated vital part of TCC's clinical staff. She has the skills and knowledge of someone who has twice the experience she does. The fact that she was trained by BOCES at the Cassadaga Job Corps speaks volumes about the great LPN program they have."
Rochelle also reflected on her decision to enter Job Corps.
"I was a little scared; I didn't really know what Job Corps was or who was there," she said.
Although she lived in Chautauqua County her whole life, she had never been to the Job Corps campus and really didn't know much about it. Her fears quickly subsided though, once she began classes. The instructors and the Job Corps staff were all very friendly and welcoming to her and the new LPN class.
Slaven is not often thought of as the typical student enrolled at Job Corps, but her circumstances and background are becoming more common, and reflect more enrollments at the career training program. The Cassadaga Job Corps Academy provides training in healthcare and construction; specifically Certified Nurse Aide, Licensed Practical Nurse, in partnership with BOCES; and through the Home Builders Institute offers painting, plumbing, carpentry and electrical training. Enrollees must be age 16-24, upon enrollment, and meet income criteria. All applicants must also demonstrate the necessary commitment and motivation to adjust to a strict schedule and the rules of the campus. Students at the campus come from all over the country, but most are from New York state and many are from Western New York. Most students are residential and live on campus, but those in Chautauqua County may have the option to enroll as non-residents, like Rochelle. Training programs can last anywhere from three months to three years, depending on what needs the student has, what goals they are working to achieve and what programs they may be enrolled in. In addition to training, several students will gain work experience and some may even begin college while enrolled.
The academy is currently seeking students interested in pursuing healthcare training. Job Corps admits students on an open-entry enrollment system for most programs, taking new students on a weekly basis. Openings are dependent upon capacity. The next LPN class will begin in February, and applications are being accepted now.