Free Skilled Medical Classes at Harris County Department of Education Supply Building-Block Approach to Medical Careers

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June 25, 2018 by HCDE Communications

Before enrolling in free GED and medical classes at Harris County Department of Education, student Deysi Gonzalez admits to watching too much TV in her free time.

“I saw a sign that said free GED classes, so I enrolled,” she said.

Within the month, she earned her GED. Twelve weeks later, she became a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, and began working in a nursing home. In a matter of six months, she will increase her hourly earnings by getting her phlebotomist certification, the profession of drawing and collecting blood samples from patients. She also plans to take the EKG class at HCDE. The resulting hourly salary range will be from $17-$21, plus benefits.

Through a series of workforce training classes at HCDE’s Adult Education, Gonzalez is growing her medical skills and earning capabilities. The programs made available through HCDE and the Texas Workforce Commission allow students to gain academic and workforce skills at the same time.

In phlebotomy classes, adult basic education teacher Rochelle Bell supports the academic end, providing help with math and language skills and assisting students with memorization and review methodologies.

Phlebotomy teacher Netta Trahan brings 30 years of drawing blood to the classroom. She provides the clinical expertise to students.

Sticking someone with a needle was a tough go the first time for student Jennifer Ortez.  With no pun intended, Ortez “stuck with it” and earned the reputation as the no. 1 phlebotomist in her class. Her goal is to work in a hospital setting.

The class provides techniques to blood drawing, equipment preparation and instruction on customer service techniques that help make patients comfortable. During the first day of class, students get hands-on experience by drawing blood from one another.
“If you face fear and get it out of the way, you can be a beast,” said Trahan of allaying her students’ fears.

Bell believes the building-block approach to gaining medical skills like drawing blood or performing an EKG makes sense.

“In today’s world, everybody is not made for college, so it gives students a chance to test out things,” she said. “You get hands-on training, and it’s paid for.”

For information about phlebotomy or other medical workforce, GED or English as a second language classes at Harris County Department of Education, go to or call 713-692-6216.

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