Jamestown Business College recently began offering a course for members from the Hispanic community to become medical office assistants and its first class is inching closer to graduation.
A year ago, 18 members of the Hispanic community were enrolled in JBC's Medical Office Assistant certificate program. Most of these community members were non-traditional students and mothers working to support a family. Now, in May, only two have dropped out of the program and with the November graduation drawing near, they are in the final stretch of their education which will provide them with a life-changing opportunity.
According to David Conklin, president of JBC, the certificate program started due to a diminished number of graduates in the medical field to fill local jobs. Conklin said he and Rosanne Johanson, vice president of JBC, noticed bilingual students were scooped up quickly. They decided to speak to local community leaders to see if they could work something out with them.
"Hispanics are the fastest growing community in Jamestown - actually in Chautauqua County," said Max Martin, branch manager for the Eastside YMCA. "So, when the school asked me to help them on that aspect, I jumped in because I am also an advocate for the Hispanic community. ... Those Hispanic mothers need jobs. It's like two fix in one. Provide jobs, but also provide services, so the clinics and the hospitals in the city can have the bilingual (to help provide services to the Hispanic community.)"
Employers are already contacting JBC to see when the students will be graduating, and so there is no question about the students having jobs upon graduation. As Conklin described it, it's a win for the medical community, it's a win for JBC and it's a win for the students.
According to Brenda Salemme, director of admissions at JBC, the program trains them to be front-end medical office assistants, although they are trained to work in any office environment. This would allow them to act as an interrelations person between practitioners and patients, and saves time for the clinics and hospitals not having to call a translator if they need one.
"Jamestown Business College is actually in the forefront of providing a service to the Latino community in two aspects: providing jobs and providing education," Martin said. "You need bilingual translators when you have a large population of Hispanics and they go to a clinic and don't speak the language, it is really hard."
The administration of JBC is looking forward to start another group in the fall. They are unsure at the moment if it will be medical or business administration.