When Jimiah Harney learned she was receiving a scholarship
to obtain her nursing degree, she felt compelled to reach out to the place
where it all started: Arsenal Technical
High School’s Career Technology Center.
“She called and told me that her employer was paying for her
to become an LPN (License Practical Nurse),” said Frankie McCroy, a
Nursing Assistant (CNA) instructor at CTC and Harney’s former teacher. “This is
what I live for, watching my students excel in their lives and careers. That’s
the reward for me.”
For more than 25 years, CTC has given students at Tech and
other Indianapolis Public Schools an opportunity to acquire skills and
certifications in various industries – automotive, culinary arts, fashion and
textiles, cosmetology, visual communications and CNA/health, among others.
Classes are taught by industry professionals and students, upon
graduation, are armed with diplomas and certifications that allow them to become
employable after high school. There are more than 1,500 students taking classes
“CTC empowers students to make a choice about careers,” said
Benjamin Carter, director of the Career Technology Center. “It empowers them
through skill-based programs, an exploration of different careers and hands-on
IPS understands that not all of our students will attend
college. The district’s focus on the Three E’s, “enrolled”
in an institution of higher learning, “enlisted” in the military or “employed”
at a livable wage, ensures that all students have a clear path toward their
Harney, who has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was in
the sixth grade, knew that obtaining her CNA license was the first step to
making her dreams come true.
After graduating from Tech in 2014, she took the skills acquired
through the CNA program and parlayed them into a job with American Senior Communities (ASC),
working at Community Nursing & Rehab.
And just like she did in Tech’s CNA program, Harney, 20, is
standing out on her job.
Two months after joining the team at Community Nursing &
Rehab, Harney was named Employee of the Month. She is also one of only two
employees chosen for the company’s O2NE (Opportunities to Nursing Excellence) Program, which pays
for their education to become an LPN or Registered Nurse (RN).
“It’s a dream come true,” Harney said about the scholarship.
She’s currently looking at schools to attend, but is leaning toward Indiana
University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
McCroy is not surprised by her success. She knew Harney had it when she was a student.
“I could tell that this was something she wanted to do
because she stayed focused, she asked a lot of questions,” said McCroy, who
teaches the class with a licensed nurse.
Even when students were dropping out of the CNA program, “because
they couldn’t take the ugly side of medicine,” McCroy said Harney stayed the
“The CNA program is not for everyone; a lot of kids drop out
because you have to touch and see stuff that you may not necessarily want to
see and touch. It’s also a lot of hands-on training and a lot of people are not
hands-on people,” said McCroy. “I think they think that they’re just going to
learn some things about first aid and it’s a lot more than that. It’s a
commitment to study.”
Students in the program commit to 30 hours of class time and
75 hours of clinicals at an assisted living facility, and that’s a struggle for
students, said McCroy. After receiving their CNA licenses, students can work in
home healthcare, nursing homes and hospitals, performing a multitude of jobs.
Harney loves helping people and has a “strong stomach,” so changing
bedpans, helping patients use the bathroom, bathing them and the sight of blood
doesn’t bother her.
“I treat my patients the way that I would want to be treated
if I was in a nursing home,” said Harney. “It’s a lot you can do for them and
they’re really grateful, and I’m blessed each and every day to help people.”
She’s also motivated to go as far as she can in the field. Ultimately,
Harney wants to become a registered nurse. “I think I should go the whole way,”
McCroy, who has since become Harney’s mentor, has no doubts
that her former student will accomplish her goals.
has always been very confident in what she’s doing. She has a lot of confidence
in herself and a lot of sass (in a good way),” said McCroy. “I’ve always
admired her, and I never had any doubt that she would do well.”