Our January Spotlight! focuses on 19-year old Alexandria Evans, who enrolled in the KRA Career Institute’s (KCI) Dental Assistant Training Program for Out-of-School Youth in February 2011, because she was “looking for something positive to do.” In the beginning of her training, Alex, as she likes to be called, continued working part-time at a local party-supplies store as a cashier, but never let her work interfere with her studies. Cindy Medina, KRA Career Agent, said of Alex, “She was an extremely attentive student, completing in-class and homework assignments on time, asking questions, and in general, demonstrating that she was taking her dental education very seriously.” With Medina’s guidance and support, Alex was accepted into the 2011 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), and placed at the Children’s Aid Society of New York’s Bronx Family Center (BFC), a facility that provides much-needed healthcare and social services in the community.
Alex’s placement in the BFC Dental Unit fulfilled KCI’s “externship” requirement for pre-certification/employment, and she admitted to Medina, though excited about the opportunity, was a little nervous when she first arrived for work. But, Alex soon got into the rhythm of the operation, fixed her attention on improving her clinical skills, asked lots of questions, and took lots of notes. The supervising Dentist was impressed by Alex’s initiative and professionalism, and the personal chair-side care she provided to the patients. Before long, she was told that if she continued to perform so efficiently, there might be permanent employment in her future at the BFC Dental Unit. Needless to say, Alex was ecstatic when, after completing the SYEP assignment, she was indeed offered a fulltime job as a Dental Assistant.
Tom Davis, KRA Program Manager, commented, “Alex is scheduled to take the New York State Dental Assistant National Board exam for certification next month. Based on the commitment and dedication she has exhibited so far, Cindy and I, and other KCI staff who worked with Alex, have no doubt she will pass with the proverbial flying colors.” As for Alex’s long-range goals, she has decided to pursue a career in Dentistry, is researching the dental curricula offered by local educational institutions, and plans to begin her studies on a part-time basis in the Fall of 2012. Now in her second year of the training program, which is the follow-up stage, KCI will continue to advise, assist, and support Alex as she works to achieve her educational and professional goals.
Funded under the Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act, KCI’S Dental Assistant Training Program is free for eligible Out-of-School Youth and requires a 2-year commitment. The first year consists of classroom, clinical, and laboratory instruction; at-home assignments; an approved externship; credentialing as a certified Dental Assistant; and job placement. The second year is devoted to post-employment assistance, guidance, and support.
The BFC was established by the Children’s Aid Society of New York in 2000 in response to a need for integrated services that meet children’s needs from infancy to the age of 21. BFC’s social services include an onsite day care center, foster care assistance, and family wellness programs that provide preventive care, including assistance with mental health and domestic violence issues. Dental services include exams, preventive care and treatment, and referrals for braces and other orthodontic work.