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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Candace Bailey starts healthcare career despite heart condition

Medical Administrative Assistant Program Graduate

The pursuit of higher education is a significant investment of time and money. While some students are fortunate to receive support from family, others depend on financial aid, work, and scholarships to make it work financially. So, for Summit Academy OIC students, who do not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs to attend, developing their ability to earn a family-sustaining wage and launching a new career in 20 weeks is a dream come true. Candace “Candy” Bailey ’22 embodies the transformative impact Summit has on our students and their families.

Originally hailing from Indiana, Bailey earned her GED, attended college, and amassed a lot of student loan debt. However, she eventually realized college was not the right fit for her. Therefore, Bailey graduated from a certificate program and earned her Certified Nursing Assistant and Qualified Medical Assistant licenses. However, she decided to shift her career due to health challenges.

“I’ve worked in health care since I was 15. I love the healthcare field. So, when my heart condition came about, I knew that I could no longer do the physical labor of healthcare,” said Bailey. When she learned about Summit’s Medical Administrative Assistant program from a social media ad, the decision to enroll was an easy one.

At first, Bailey was discouraged that she would not qualify for FAFSA because her previous student loans were in default. However, Summit provided Bailey with financial support through grants, scholarships, and contracts. As a mother of three children, she was thankful for the financial assistance. “I could’ve cried right then and there because I’ve wanted to go back to school, but student loans was a barrier of mine,” said Bailey.

Bailey’s favorite class was medical billing and coding. “At Summit, the instructors are very personable. They take the time to ensure that you are not only passing, but you’re understanding,” said Bailey. When hospitalized for two weeks during her time at Summit, Bailey felt supported by her instructor’s flexibility in allowing her to make up coursework and their motivation to see her succeed.

By week 14 of the program, Bailey learned the technical and career readiness skills to impress employers at Summit’s mock interview, where the University of Minnesota Physicians hired her as a Clinic Appointment Coordinator. “I thought I would be out of work with a heart condition, but I’m not. I’m still in the healthcare field, but in a different lane per se,” said Bailey. “I’m going to make Summit proud, so they know their financial assistance went to someone grateful to come here and do what they have to transform.”

Bailey walked across a graduation stage for the first time in her life at Summit’s Fall 2022 commencement ceremony.

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