230207 Morgan Palme

Healthcare dreams achieved: How FastForward helped Morgan pursue her passion

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published online on Laurel Ridge Community College’s website. You can see the original article here.

Our family members can be our most important cheerleaders and motivators, and for Morgan Palme, it was her grandmother who pushed her to pursue her dream of a career in the healthcare industry.

Luckily for Palme, her dreams came without a big price tag – thanks to two state funding programs, she didn’t have to pay a single penny while earning her certified clinical medical assistant (CMA) and phlebotomy technician credentials through Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions.

FastForward funding can cover up to two-thirds of the tuition costs for Virginia residents undergoing short-term career training – and G3 tuition assistance – which pays any remaining tuition money after all financial assistance has been applied for qualified students enrolled in high-demand career programs – picked up the tab for Palme. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of donors to the Laurel Ridge Foundation, Palme received a grant from the Rappahannock County Student Success Grant and a scholarship from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education.

“That made me even more excited because I had been so worried about the financial part,” said Palme, who had left her full-time job as a daycare teacher in order to concentrate on her own education. “I just kept on pushing myself. My grandmother was pushing me to fight for my dreams, do what I wanted to do and be happy in a career that is fulfilling and fun.”

She had spent some time living with her grandparents and taking care of her grandfather who had dementia. Sadly, he died this past fall, shortly before his granddaughter completed her education.

Palme’s courses overlapped with her CMA program running from July to November and her phlebotomy program from September to December, but she found her Workforce Solution classes to be “absolutely awesome.”

“If I can get back and do more, I would love to,” she said, adding that she would love to become a nurse. “Instructor Janet Mayes was great.”

In January, Palme started working at a family practice in Marshall. Her job duties include patient intake, accompanying patients to the exam rooms and getting their vitals, doing EKGs, conducting urinalysis and administering vaccines and other injections.

“This career field is a big change for me,” Palme said. “But, I’ve always had a passion for caring for people and wanting them to feel better. I’ve had a lot of patients here say that I really care for them as a patient. I love it.”

Are you interested in starting a career in the healthcare industry? See how you can be the next FastForward success story by reaching out to a career coach at your local community college. Learn more here.