Hialeah Graduate Goes the Extra Mile
Jasmine Daniel’s former job at the Miami Airport required her to be there at 4 a.m. each morning. She worked in the wheelchair department, she said, a far cry from where she’d envisioned herself just years earlier when she was a student at the University of Puerto Rico.
Jasmine grew up in Puerto Rico and enrolled at the university straight out of high school. When she gave birth to her son, however, she took a break from her education to better support her family, mostly working waitressing jobs on the island.
Then in 2016, her husband lost his job and life got more difficult. As a family, they made the decision to move to Miami to be closer to Jasmin’s in-laws for support. It’s around this time she started her job at the airport, always mindful that she wanted – she needed – to further her education.
“When I moved over here, I wanted to go back to school, but getting on my feet and starting in a new place, it was delayed,” she said. “A friend of mine went to FCC (Florida Career College) and said I should look into the school. So, one day when I was out of work at 1 o’clock, I decided I’m going to the school to see what it was all about.”
Turns out that visit to FCC’s Hialeah campus made all the difference in Jasmin’s career trajectory. The experience, she said, was smooth, welcoming, and left an impression.
Jasmine enrolled in Hialeah’s Medical Front Office and Billing Program, and in less than a year – a hectic yet rewarding year full of small personal sacrifices – she earned her diploma. Today, she is working full-time for a medical billing and collections company.
The speed at which she made this transition into a new career she enjoys is astonishing, Jasmine said, especially considering all that’s happened in the world during that time.
“That it was going to be under a year that I was going to be able to move from my current job – 4 a.m. and not having time for my family – was a big part of my decision to go to FCC,” she said. “Now, look at me. I’m out of the airport and I’m in a new job – even during a pandemic!”
Taking That First Step toward the Future
Jasmine said she knew she needed to make a significant career transition in her life. And, she had assumed that simply moving herself in that direction was going to be difficult. She would be on her own, she thought.
When she visited FCC’s Hialeah campus for the first time, however, she experienced the very opposite.
“When I went, everything was smooth sailing,” she said. “It was quick and easy, and I was thinking to myself, ‘I waited so long to go back to school, and it wasn’t that difficult to take the first step.’ The people were so nice, so I decided to go with it.”
She was particularly drawn to the Medical Front Office Billing program because Jasmine has always enjoyed working in an office setting. She loves meeting, talking with and helping people, she said, and working in a medical office would give her the greatest opportunity to do this.
Also, because of the pandemic, her classes were online, which helped her better manage her time while juggling work, school and motherhood.
“I was able to manage my work, my school and my house,” she said. “Being online, though, I only had contact with [Instructor] Mr. Adams. He helped me a lot. He always made sure I understood everything, and that I had somebody to ask questions, any time, and he’d help me out.”
As Jasmine completed her coursework and began her externship, however, things got a little more difficult. Her days included work at 4 a.m., the externship in the afternoon, then home in the evenings. Because she could only do her externship part time, this process took three months to complete.
“I didn’t have a day off in the three months that I did that,” she said. “When I wasn’t at my job, at was at the externship. Everybody’s human and gets tired, but I thought it was only a little bit of time. I pushed through and I said, ‘I’m going to finish. I’m going to finish. I’m going to finish.’ And, I did.”
Going the Extra Mile to Find Success
Jasmine’s hard work and her dedication to her new career wasn’t lost on her supervisor, who hired her on full-time following the completion of her externship.
“I went the extra mile and was willing to learn. [My supervisor] was always telling me, ‘I like how you think outside the box, you’re on point and paying attention, and you’re always going the extra mile to ensure the job is done.’ I think that involved why she wanted me to stay,” Jasmine said.
Since quitting the airport job and starting her new full-time position in late-March, Jasmine said she’s been happy with the transition. She’s doing “a little bit of everything,” she said, including data entry, billing for specific doctors in a hospital facility, and even some collections.
“I know I made the best choice for me,” she said. “It’s going to be good in the long run, and I’m going to do better things.”
And, she thanks for people at FCC for making it possible for her to make such a speedy transition into a new career. Specifically, Career Services Specialist Mercedes Benitez kept her motivated throughout the process.
“She helped place me in my externship, and she’s one that helped keep pushing me through,” Jasmine said. “She kept checking on me and telling me how proud she was of me.”
“Jasmine is an exceptional student who did very well at her externship site. She kicks it right out of the park,” Mercedes said.
“Going to FCC was the best decision for me,” Jasmine added. “Sometimes we get down … and just making that first step, you’re not going to be in doubt because of all the support you get there.”
“From all of us at FCC Hialeah, congratulations to Jasmine for her dedication and hard work to finish her program and externship! We are very proud of her,” said Charles Castillo, Executive Director at FCC Hialeah.