In April of 2019, Tricia Riley, a 22-year employee at Verso Paper Mill, Luke MD, along with 699 other workers learned that within 60 days they would be out of work because the mill was closing its doors.
“Losing my job after so many years and having to start over at my age was definitely devastating.”
Through many supportive services such as TRA, Allegany College of Maryland, and Western Maryland Consortium, Tricia was able to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Administrative Assistant and completed the additional requirements to become a Certified Professional Coder Apprentice.
During her 2 years in college, she was on the Dean’s List maintaining 4.0 all 4 semesters. “The instructors and advisors at AC were amazing. It was very intimidating for me to return to college after 30 years and they made it so much easier than I thought it would be. They were always available and constantly reaching out to make sure everything was going well and offering support.”
During her last semester, she did an externship where she gained the skills, professional relationships and contacts that led to her current full-time position at the local health system, UPMC Western Maryland. “After working 22 years of shift work, holidays, weekends and countless 16 hours shifts, I was fortunate to be able to choose the job that would give me the opportunity to not only work a Monday-Friday dayshift job, but also work from home.”
“I feel very thankful and fortunate to have received the support from Amy Trumpower (TRA Program) and Career Counselor Gail Groves (Western Maryland Consortium) and opportunities that I have been given leading me to the career that I have now.”