Congratulations to Our Newest PPL Graduates!
May 30, 2017
This past spring, we had over 36 individuals that walked proudly across the stage and received a certificate in either Healthcare Advocate or Public Sector Administration from Minneapolis College and Project for Pride and Living (PPL), a local non-profit organization dedicated to empowering low income people to become self-reliant. The career pathway programs did just that. Many of the students are near the final stages of their internship or already had job offers in hand.
The graduation ceremony featured key community leaders who developed the career pathway programs to prepare participants for industries that are experiencing a workforce shortage.
“The Health Advocate and Public Administration career pathway programs were designed with the end in mind: in-demand opportunities for individuals to land great starting salaries, benefits, with future growth opportunities and not just a job.” said Elaine Vandenburgh, workforce development representative from Minneapolis College.
“We value our partnership with PPL as they really understand both the local workforce development needs and challenges that individuals may face when making a positive change in their life, like going back to school. In addition to the support received from PPL, the support from the employer partners, has made these programs such a success.”
Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison was the first to address the nights’ graduates and acknowledged the obstacles they have overcome.
“I have the privilege of being the first to congratulate you. I have attended a number of these events and because of this, I already know some things about you. I know that this wasn’t easy. I know that you worked hard. I know that there is a spirit of togetherness and teamwork here. These successes, the effort of working hard and overcoming obstacles, your ability to problem solve as a team are all characteristics that we look for at Hennepin County and will make you valuable to whatever employer in the future you choose. At Hennepin County we think that you are important to our future and that you represent the kind of people we want in our workforce.”
The additional line-up for speakers included: Hennepin County Assistant County Administrator Mark Thompson; Assistance County Administrator for Health Jennifer DeCubellis; Minneapolis’s Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Vince Thomas; PPL Employment Specialist Kathleen Trescony; PPL Employment Specialist for PPL Gary Ly; and PPL Career and Education Advancement Manager Conrad Carlozzi.
The audience also got an opportunity to hear from the graduates themselves. Their speeches were heartfelt and expressed a great sense of accomplishment, camaraderie among fellow graduates, and appreciation for PPL, Minneapolis College, Hennepin County, and the many employer partners that made the program possible.
Program graduate Shaketha Crutchfield said, “Through this program I have recognized my personal strengths. The program helped me gain knowledge and inner strengths that I didn’t know I was capable of, it’s an overwhelming sensation of Joy. I would like to thank all of the instructors for their willingness, knowledge, and teachings.”
The graduates were very grateful for the hard work that Minneapolis College, PPL, and Hennepin County put into developing these programs.
“Well, we did it. We all accomplished one of the major milestones of our career. We cannot expect to keep our minds alive forever with the certificates we will be given here tonight. This is a major step in the journey of our lives; one that should be recognized for its immense significance. It is an act not only of personal commitment, but also one of pride. We all worked hard to get to this day and our work did not go to waste. For what we have learned, it is a beginning of the lifelong career process and I can say we are the generation that will bring solutions to health concerns and help people in needs” said graduate Awoussi Koussandja.
The ceremony concluded with handshakes and hugs, group photos, food and more celebration. It also ended with a sentiment noted by evenings’ speakers, a sentiment that this is really just the beginning for these graduates.