Home > Blog > November 2016 > Mesa Student Lands Dream Job with Digital Badges

Mesa Student Lands Dream Job with Digital Badges

Posted: November 1, 2016 by Pima Medical Institute

A powerful combination of individual effort, institutional support and technology is driving students to find employment upon graduation.

While a Medical Assistant student at Pima Medical Institute's East Valley campus, Nychelle Steen used competency-based credentials earned through Wonderlic. Now she’s living her dream.

Like so many others who are reluctant to seek postsecondary education, Steen did not consider herself a traditionally “good” student. There was anxiety, a lack of confidence, and a lack of direction. Things started to change when Steen realized the impact she could make in the medical field.

Inspired by the care she received from medical assistants at her physician’s office, she soon discovered Pima Medical. Within weeks, she had visited the campus, enrolled in classes and started her journey into the profession. The learning environment at Pima Medical was unlike anything Steen had experienced in her life. From the personalized instructor attention to the support system of other students to the guidance of career services, Steen was set up to thrive at Pima Medical.

“In addition to providing an excellent medical education, my department specifically focuses on building professionals. We engage our students from the get-go and motivate them to start building their professional portfolios as they move forward in school,” said Steen’s Career Services Advisor, Alexandria Ferrara.

“Ally in career services really is an amazing person,” Steen said. “I really owe a lot of my success to her. She is a wonderful advisor. She was always available for me to bug her with any questions, or concerns I had.”

Always looking for ways to help students, Ferrara discovered the Wonderlic Competency-Based Assessments that lead to the award of digital badges for successful demonstration of job skills. Competency-based assessments use interactive questions to measure applied knowledge. Ferrara recognized the value of the assessments and quickly arranged for Steen and her classmates to have the opportunity to earn digital badges.

“The assessment was challenging and a lot of my students were nervous at first. However, taking the test and seeing that they possess skill strengths was just the boost of confidence they needed,” said Ferrara. “They were able to proceed with taking the national certification and apply for jobs without fear of rejection or failure.”

Additionally, the digital badges helped Steen and other Pima Medical students improve other aspects of their job hunt.

“The students who completed competency-based assessments demonstrated a great improvement in their interviewing skills and resume writing,” said Ferrara.

Steen was a high performer, earning 12 out of 15 badges offered in Wonderlic’s Medical Assistant Program. Steen quickly incorporated her badges into her resume and immediately found out how much they could help her get a job.

“My badges are now proudly displayed under my ‘skills’ on my resume,” Steen said. “I had an interview with an office a week later and sent them my resume with a brief explanation of what the badges were. During the interview, I found the employer’s representatives had many questions about the badges; the more we spoke about them, the more impressed they were.”

After securing five interviews, Steen accepted an offer with a general health practice. Throughout her education, Steen found her medical curiosity spanned a number of topics and was delighted to find a position that enables her to engage with a wide variety of patients.

Advisors like Ferrara are bringing twenty-first-century job search resources into the classroom. Ultimately, there are two clear beneficiaries from technologies like digital badges: Students like Steen who can better document and articulate their skills and employers who can more easily identify the job candidates who possess the skills that they value most.

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