Gina Mancha was displaced from a long career in automotive manufacturing and needed to find a new career. As a dislocated worker, Gina was eligible for services through Michigan Works!. With guidance from a career coach, she completed a career portfolio—a collection of documents that highlights experience, skills and accomplishments—and soon secured an entry level position at Spectrum Health in the Environmental Services department.

Eager to advance at Spectrum, she applied to an apprentice program for sterile processing technicians through West Michigan Works!. She attended an information session and learned about the assessments she would need to take for acceptance in the program. It had been a long time since Gina had taken any tests or attended classes, but she was persistent and spent hours practicing and preparing for the work ahead.

Gina’s hard work and practice paid off; she was the only candidate to complete and pass all of the tests and became the first sterile processing technician apprentice at Spectrum Health.

Gina attended classes at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) while working as an apprentice at Spectrum Health. She credits the apprenticeship for giving her a new set of skills and confidence to start her second career at age 50. Gina successfully graduated from the apprenticeship program last spring and has been promoted from an apprentice to a sterile processing technician with Spectrum Health.

Gina, Spectrum Health and GRCC were recently honored by the Michigan Works! Association and state lawmakers as 2019 Impact Award winners. The awards recognize workforce achievements in communities across Michigan.