"Workforce Education at Green River was VERY instrumental in allowing me to go back to school, and I'm grateful for all the assistance I received and continue to receive." - Genie L, Green River Student

"Make sure you talk to Workforce Education...They can help in many ways to make things go smoothly and make sense." - Chris S, Green River Student

"Workforce Education...will embrace you and lend a helping hand with open hearts." Elsie Q, Green River Student

"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

May 2, 2014

Student Success Story: Erik Young-Brown

When OTA graduate-to-be Erik Young-Brown isn't at a clinical or in class, he enjoys building birdhouses with his son, pictured above.

Today's success story features a Q and A with Erik Young-Brown. Erik is a Workforce Education student who is enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Green River. With a strong background in skilled nursing, Erik did some research, and determined OTA was a sold fit leading to a brighter future.

After completing all of his required pre-requisites, he applied for, and was accepted into, the hybrid OTA program, which meets part time in the evenings and blends online with face-to-face instruction. A flexible option like this allowed Erik to go to school, work full-time, and be an awesome dad to his children. Fast forward to 2014--he's now preparing to complete his Associate of Applied Science degree.

Hi Erik. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the OTA program at Green River?

Erik: It is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. I was part of the evening hybrid program and our cohort bonded easily and early, and we laughed and learned a lot with each other. The program has a lot of hands-on components where interaction, and working as a team, and role playing are required. It was very positive. The program is more rigorous than I anticipated and there is no shortage of assignments. Keeping up on homework and reading takes some discipline and more than a couple late nights, but it is very doable.

What lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

Erik: Originally I was thinking about nursing (like many others!) due to my background as a nursing assistant. But then my brother-in-law's wife, an Occupational Therapist, suggested I look into the OTA program. I realized that part of my skill set was assisting older people with their activities of daily living. This is a large component of occupational therapy. After doing a little research, I knew it was a great fit!

How has Workforce Education--specifically the BFET program--helped you achieve your goals?

Erik: Frankly, Workforce Education, specifically BFET, has been tremendous. While attending, I worked either full time or nearly full time until I got to the two Level Two Field Work quarters of the OTA program. Working provided me means to support my family on a tight budget, but paying for school would have been impossible. I took out some loans as well, but my BFET grant was the cornerstone of the venture.

You're getting ready to graduate with an AAS degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Congrats! What are your future plans after Green River?

Erik: Find a job! I am looking into staying in the area in the near term. My wife would like to further her education and career path and this area is well suited for that. I am open to many types of OT but my background is skilled nursing, so I may put more energy into those leads. My kids are either in school or nearly there, so I could even see myself working in peds. The nice thing about OT is there are many different types of work you can position yourself for.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support OTA at Green River.