9. Participant Testimonials

The following participant testimonials will provide you with an insight to the background of some of the participants of the program, and their progress through Project REACH.

Gaston Bikandou, Clinical Associate

Gaston is a physician in his former country (Ivory Coast, West Africa) with certifications in Tropical Medicine, General Surgery and Disaster Response/World Health. He came with his family to the U.S. to provide a better life for them. Although his degree was not fully transferable in the U.S., he did not give up but began to pursue a career in Neuro Science. He worked as an intern in the Department of Neurology here at JHH. Through the support of Project R.E.A.C.H., he successfully completed his clinical Associate training in August 2005. Because of his persistence and determination, he is currently a Clinical Associate in the Department of Neurology with an estimated 12 percent increase in pay.

Lakeisha Cooper, Pharmacy Technician

Lakeisha’s initial contact with Johns Hopkins hospital was in 2000. She engaged in a collaborative employability project sponsored by the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development Civic Works and Johns Hopkins Hospital. For three months, Lakeisha developed the employability skills which helped her acquire full-time employment in the JHH Environmental Services Department. She began tutorials to prepare for the GED. In the spring of 2005, Lakeisha applied for Project R.E.A.C.H. and entered into the accelerated GED training resulting in Lakeisha acquiring her GED in May 2005. In November, she applied for and entered the Pharmacy Technician training. On March 2, 2006 she graduated and received her certificate of completion, within the next year she will sit for the State Board of Pharmacy Technicians. Currently, she has accepted a position as a Pharmacy Technician in Central Pharmacy here at JHH.

Rodney Thomas, Patient Service Coordinator II

Rodney formerly worked as a Support Associate for three years before coming in contact with Project R.E.A.C.H. While in the process of structuring training for Patient Service Coordinators, we received an inquiry from him expressing a desire for a higher wage, skilled position. The assessment revealed that he was a high potential worker; however, training would be required for his area of interest. With the support of the R.E.A.C.H. program he was able to train for a new position in 20 weeks. Upon completing his training, he moved into a Patient Service Coordinator II position with a 10 to 12 percent increase in pay. Now, Rodney works the shift he wants with no holiday and weekend schedules.

Taheesha Robinson, Patient Service Coordinator II

Taheesha was working in the JHH’s Environmental Services Department as a housekeeper for three years. She decided to enroll in Project R.E.A.C.H. in November 2004, and she finished her PSCII training in August 2005. After she transitioned to her new department, we received calls from her manager who raved about how well she was doing and how she wishes that all of her employees were like Taheesha. Taheesha has received a 10 percent increase in pay and works no holidays and weekends (her primary goals). This type of success is evidence that talent flourishes when meshed with access and opportunity.