Back to school, with a bright career future

image of Yailyn, P2P program participant

Yailyn loves working with kids. As the oldest of four children in her family, her parents count on her to help care for much younger siblings. Now she’s leveraging her interests and skills to prepare for a career as a teacher.

Thanks to the new Education Fellows program, Yailyn is able to start working on her bachelor’s degree while also staying at home in Northfield. Education Fellows is a program of the Northfield Community College Collaborative (NCCC). The NCCC is a program/initiative of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, a CareerForce Proud Partner.

As a NCCC Education Fellow, Yailyn was connected to a full-time position at Minnesota Reading Corps at Sibley Elementary in Northfield. Plus, her fellowship helps fund a laptop, books, materials and tuition at Riverland Community College. Being an Education Fellow also means Yailyn is able to meet with NCCC staff one-on-one every week to go over her assignments and discuss study habits to see what’s working and what’s not.

Yailyn is inspired to continue working toward her career goals every day as a coach with the Minnesota Reading Corps.

“I have a kindergartner that, every time that I go get him, he’s like, ‘Yes! I get to go with you!’ It just makes my day every time,” Yailyn laughs.

Not all of the kindergarten through third grade students she works with one-on-one are so enthusiastic, of course.

“Usually I get students who don’t want to read,” she says. “They say that they’re bad readers. And it’s just building their confidence.”

“I figured out that I wanted to go into being a teacher,” Yailyn says. “Working with students and just seeing them progress in such a little time…where they started reading a passage where they could only read a couple words… to the end, where they can read it completely and fluently, is heartwarming, and I love that.”

Yamile is taking four Riverland Community College classes each semester: two online and two in person at the NCCC’s Northfield office. Things are going so well that she hopes to continue both her Reading Corps position and NCCC coursework during the 2019-2020 school year. Then she plans to transfer to a four-year college in the fall of 2020. And then after she earns her degree, she can’t wait to get back to the classroom as a teacher.

The Education Fellows program is made possible by a Pathways to Prosperity grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and a multitude of local partnerships, including Northfield Public Schools, Minnesota Reading Corps, Riverland Community College, Youthprise and Tackling Obstacles Raising College Hopes (TORCH). Eight fellows earned a cumulative 54 college credits in in the 2018-2019 school year with an average GPA of 2.8.

Find out more about education and training opportunities available to Minnesota residents through Pathways to Prosperity.