Emily Munoz has always had a passion for nursing since she was little. With a strong desire to help people and support them during times of sickness and pain, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. Due to barriers, she could not begin nursing school immediately after high school. To get work experience, Emily first connected with Elgin Community College (ECC) through the Future Workforce Leaders Program (FWLP), which connects area youth ages 16-24 with opportunities to explore different career paths through paid work experiences and job shadowing.
Through FWLP, Emily was connected with Hanover Township, completing a paid work experience with their Community Health Department. As her paid work experience ended, her WIOA Navigator suggested she explore the CNA Apprenticeship through ECC. In December 2023, Emily completed her CNA course with AVID CNA School, ECC’s RTI vendor, and passed her state exam.
Now a licensed CNA, Emily is completing her on-the-job training with The Vines, a senior care center in Elgin. She loves working with patients and has developed a strong sense of the kind of healthcare worker she aspires to be. As she completes her apprenticeship, Emily takes the necessary prerequisites to enter ECC’s nursing program. Her experience as a CNA apprentice gives her insight into current issues with health care and a chance to refine her basic skills, making her an excellent candidate for the nursing program.
Salim Medjdouba immigrated to the United States from Algeria in 2022. With a degree in commercial and management sciences from the University of Boumerdes, he set out to establish his life in a new country. Thanks to family connections, he settled in the Elgin region. With experience as a machine operator, he found employment at a local manufacturer working as a materials handler, moving on to roles in production assembly as he worked to find his fit in the workplace.
Fluent in three languages, Salim knew he needed to master a fourth, English, for his career to flourish truly. In September 2023, he enrolled in Elgin Community College’s (ECC) English as a Second Language (ESL) Program, hoping to become proficient enough to enroll in the college’s technical courses. While in the ECC ESL program, Salim heard about ECC’s free Pre-Apprenticeship in Manufacturing. He and a family friend signed up to take the course together. Salim began the program eager to learn how to translate his technical knowledge into English, finding a common language on the machine floor. Salim passed all pre-apprenticeship classes, earning his OSHA-10 card and Forklift Driver certification. He then successfully interviewed for a materials handler job with a well-known local manufacturing company. As he began his new job, Salim was grateful for the chance to upskill and get into a company with upward mobility and opportunities. His new employer, Elgin Sweeper, is also on ECC’s target list to develop registered apprenticeships; hiring one of our pre-apprentices opened the door for those discussions in 2024.