United States Marine Corp veteran Kevin Gonzales believes in the EN-Abled Vet program. After leaving military service in 2013, Kevin had been struggling to find the right career fit. He wanted to use the skills he learned in the United States Marine Corps, but he couldn’t find the right job. He had gone to several veteran service groups, but the promises made never seemed to come through for him. At age 22, Kevin became discouraged, as it was beginning to look like his Marine Corps experience was a waste of time. He was getting kicked out of his apartment and struggling to find the right path.
Kevin’s resume was average, but his character, loyalty, and integrity, combined with a strong desire to succeed were all well above average. When he came upon the EN-Abled Vet program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the future looked brighter.
Now after spending 13 weeks with the program, he explains why his life will never be the same.
“Before entering the Enabled Vet Internship Program, I was bombarded with feelings of skepticism and doubt. I had been given false promises and assurance in the past and was constantly being told about ‘opportunities for veterans,’ only to be disappointed when learning most of the opportunities were minimum wage positions. The EN-Abled Vet program at Rush program was different. I’m a bit of novice at healthcare IT, but the EN-Abled Vet and Rush teams helped me understand the possibilities and significance of obtaining a certification in an EPIC module. They assured me that if I stuck with it, I would be extremely marketable in Chicagoland and beyond with the tools I needed to compete in the civilian job market.”
The EN-Abled Vet program at Rush University is a unique 13-week paid internship which provides job skills, hands-on training and resume/mock job interview support to help military veterans like Kevin begin a career in information technology or healthcare IT. Founded in October 2012 at Rush University Medical Center, the program is a personal commitment to those who served and provides valuable on the job training designed to build not just jobs, but careers. EN-Abled Vet believes that the skills earned during military services can be transformed into successful IT careers.
Recently, EN-Abled Vet partnered with Epic Systems, which is also dedicated to helping military veterans. Working together with the EN-Abled Vet, Epic devised a program offering free certification opportunities nationwide to their customers. Veterans who left military service less than 3 years ago under honorable discharge and who are working at an Epic customer site are eligible, with a maximum of 5 free certification opportunities per customer site. Kevin is the first military veteran to take advantage of this opportunity choosing Epic Ambulatory Certification, a highly sought-after skill in today’s healthcare IT market. He finished his last project and passed his last test in late January.
After attending the EPIC classes, I began to acquire the skills necessary to procure my certification. It prepared me to successfully complete the exams, projects; resume writing classes and one on one sessions with my coach.
Kevin has turned adversity into opportunity.
At one point, after returning home from the military, I had been on the brink of homelessness. Now I am EPIC Ambulatory Certified and on my way to full time employment with multiple opportunities to explore and several staffing firms to work with.
Looking back at his young life, Kevin knows where he is, and more importantly, where he is going.
No one in my family ever made more than $30,000 a year. Now I have the potential to earn twice that amount and more. I am forever grateful to Rush University Medical Center and the Rush Information Services family for changing my life forever.