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Nearly 10 years ago, Meghan Glass was working two jobs, attending the surgery technician program at Ivy Tech Community College, and juggling the demands of everyday life. “Eventually I couldn’t do it anymore,” Glass said. “I put my dreams on hold.”
One thousand miles south, Shelby Shedrow was also floundering professionally. After two years at Butler University in which she struggled to find her place, she took a job in guest relations at Walt Disney World. “When I was in Florida, I realized I wanted more—and I wanted to do something medical,” Shedrow said. “But at the time, I didn’t know what ‘more’ could mean for me.”
Little did Glass and Shedrow know that their paths would soon cross at IU Health Arnett Hospital as members of the first Pathways into Healthcare cohort.
As a service offered by the IU Health West Central Region Career Center, Pathways into Healthcare trains entry-level IU Health team members— such as those who work in environmental services and food preparation—to become certified medical assistants. During the 30-week program, 10 employees receive regular pay and benefits but spend half their on-the-job time training for their new profession. Additionally, the program covers the costs of courses, supplies and certifications.
Helping support this program are IU Health Foundation donors Gary and Shelly Henriott. In early 2022, the Henriotts connected in person with Glass and Shedrow and witnessed the power of their philanthropy up close and personal.
“When I saw this program, I was like ‘I have to do this,’” Glass told the Henriotts. “I opened the email and saw ‘congratulations’ and I just cried at my desk. It’s the best opportunity an organization could offer its employees.”
“To find out that I was accepted?” Shedrow said. “It was like a new beginning.”
Building a talent pipeline
Donors Shelly and Gary come from a long line of educators. “We share a passion for education and a responsibility to do what we can to help,” Gary said. “I don’t care if I have my name on anything. I’d rather have it here,” he said, gesturing to Glass and Shedrow.
Healthcare systems across the country face a shortage of qualified providers and educating qualified medical assistants can address deficiencies across departments. “You can literally go anywhere and learn everything as a medical assistant,” Glass said. “I can step in wherever I’m needed, whether it’s pediatrics or neurology.”
“This program shows that IU Health is interested in investing in their team,” Shelly added. “You’re not just doing a job; you’re part of a family. And as a family, you want to lift everyone up to the highest level possible.”