MORGANTOWN — The My Pathways to Success program is preparing to welcome its second cohort of future employees.
The Pathways program is funded by the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust and offers courses, positions, gas and daily food cards and everything future employees need to be successful for up to 10 people. The program is designed for people who have something that prevents them from finding a good job – a substance use disorder, being homeless, a criminal record or simply prioritizing family and to miss good opportunities.
Lotoya Henry-Ojugbana, Director of Talent Acquisition at Mon Health System, and Paulina Nottingham, Development Specialist at Mon Health Medical Center Foundation, are the two program leaders. They attended Leadership Mon and in a meeting another Mon employee spoke about how desperately people needed quality jobs. After hearing this, the two came up with the idea for the program and wrote a grant, which was approved within three weeks.
“We still have health care requirements, don’t we. We have things that we have to require of all of our employees – background checks and pre-employment medicals. So with all of that , we’ve come to a total of 10 people who are really committed, because this program isn’t just a handout, we’re really trying to make sure that we’re supporting those people, who are ready to make that transition and to change back to stability – financially and emotionally.
“We’ve been able to get people to find housing, we’ve been able to help people get their kids back, we’ve really been able to help them have a stable career that they can now develop from entry-level positions at Mon Health. And now they can take that and go back to school,” Henry-Ojugbana said.
Henry-Ojugbana said they want intimidation or barriers to prevent potential new hires from being able to interview and participate in the program.
“When we set the schedule, we said, ‘OK, we’re going to go where they are. We’re not going to have the intimidation of coming into our hospital because we’re the employer, we’re not going to have the intimidation of, ‘Oh my God, there’s technology that’s a barrier,’ we’re not going to let transportation be a barrier,” Henry-Ojugbana said.
The program consists of six months of classroom study that covers a variety of topics, including personal finance and savings. Program members can also benefit from additional learning opportunities they may need, such as GED courses.
When they started, they had 26 potential employees, and at the end of six months, they offered five graduates of the program full-time jobs at Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown. Many potential employees have not completed the program for personal reasons.
Of the five employees who completed, four were living in non-durable housing or in a shelter when they started the program. Henry-Ojugbana and Nottingham said being part of the program was incredibly humble and they looked forward to the program to come.
“We are very happy to say that now these four people who started out in a shelter, couch surfing or whatever, now all have sustainable housing. thrive on their Not because of this program, necessarily, or anything that Latoya and I have done, but simply because of the support they received and the love they felt.
That’s the biggest part we’ve found with this program – giving them the tools, and then encouraging them, kind of supporting them, being the ear that they need to talk to sometimes. It was truly amazing to watch them fully thrive inside the hospital,” Nottingham said.
The My Pathways to Success program accepts donations, whether financial donations or personal volunteer time. They are also looking to expand the program outside of Monongalia County and to other Mon Health Centers. They seek to work with partners.
To register for the program, make a donation, or for more information, visit the My Pathways to Success website.