Growing up, Laura Lemmon learned to be self-sufficient. Her mother worked hard, but as a single mom of three, she struggled to support the family. Sometimes things were difficult, but Lemmon still dreamed about the future.
“I found comfort in reading books and getting lost in written word. I promised myself that someday I would be important, and someday what I did for a living would matter,” says Lemmon.
In high school, Lemmon studied hard and stayed out of trouble. She played violin in the school orchestra and got a job at a local grocery store within walking distance of her home.
After graduation, Lemmon got a job at Cardinal IG, a glass-making factory. The work ethic and self-sufficiency she learned in childhood served her well.
“I worked hard, and I felt it. My body hurt, but I was proud of my work ethic. I worked at Cardinal for 11 years. During that time I was promoted twice and earned Employee of the Year 2012. I started out as a floor worker and ended as a department supervisor.”
Back to School
Even though she loved her job, Lemmon still had dreams of doing something important, something with meaning. In 2014, she met her future husband, who gave her the final push back to college. She applied to Ivy Tech Community College and was accepted for fall 2015 semester.
Coming back to school wasn’t easy. Lemmon originally started at Jackson Community College right after high school but quickly dropped out. She was afraid history would repeat itself. But with the support of her instructors, Lemmon quickly shed those fears and fell in love with Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.
“The advisors and teachers at Ivy Tech Community College care if you pass. They listened when I had questions and did their best to get me answers. After my first day, I realized Ivy Tech was the school for me. I loved it.”
Getting Workforce Ready—without Debt
Ever thrifty, when Lemmon applied to Ivy Tech Community College, she also immediately started searching for scholarships and grants. She received a Workforce Ready Grant, which let her earn a Technical Certificate in Medical Assisting at Ivy Tech without debt.
“I applied for grants online because I hate paying for something if I know I can get a discount or coupon. Grants and scholarships are the coupons of college. The application process is super easy. If you can fill out a survey, you can apply for a grant. Getting a grant is free money, why wouldn’t you try for that? What do you have to lose? Nothing!”
When Lemmon graduated with her certificate in Aug. 2018, she already had a job lined up at Parkview Health First Care as a certified medical assistant. Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed—she’s going to be on the cover of 2018–19 Career Ready magazine!
Lemmon plans to continue her education in the Respiratory Therapy program, starting next fall. She wants to complete her degree, work hard, make a good living, and hopefully move up the ladder at Parkview as a respiratory therapist.
Want to know more about Workforce Ready Grants? Check out the Next Level Jobs website to learn about qualifying programs, eligibility, and more.