Young Professional Cracks the Code to a New Career

by Elizabeth Lozen

When Chelsea Bookrum first came to Michigan Works!, she had recently been laid off from a job as an administrative assistant in a physical therapy office. This was just one in a series of difficult life events that had derailed Chelsea’s educational and employment plans. Her initial goal after graduating from high school was to obtain an engineering degree. She had been moving forward with this plan and had been attending classes at Wayne State University when due to some circumstances outside of her control, she lost her scholarship and was unable to complete the program.

When Chelsea came into the office, she knew she needed to get back on track, but was realizing that it wouldn’t be the track that she had originally started. Chelsea worked with the Young Professionals program to explore some different career and training options and decided that she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. She had a young son, so she knew that a long-term training program was not in the cards for her, and she needed a program that was flexible so that she could work while she furthered her education.

After looking at several options, Chelsea decided that she would like to pursue training in Medical Coding and Billing. This was a career that she could prepare for relatively quickly, and that would provide her with a wage that would allow her to support herself and her son. She had really enjoyed her previous work in a medical office setting, so it seemed like a great fit.

On top of everything, Chelsea was able to choose a program through Central Michigan University Global Campus that was offered entirely online, so she would be able to work and go to school at the same time.

The week before starting training, Chelsea found a job as an intake clerk at Binson’s Medical Supply, and everything began falling into place.

While Chelsea was enrolled in training online with tuition assistance through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), she had some ups and downs. It was a challenge to juggle work, school, and caring for her son, but Chelsea ultimately completed the program in May of 2017.

Chelsea was excited to move forward with her career and immediately began searching for employment closer to home. She worked with the Young Professionals program to update her résumé, find and apply for job openings, and ultimately to prepare for an interview with Tri-Hospital EMS. She was offered a full-time job as a Medical Billing Specialist and started work in July 2017. To top it all off, Chelsea took the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist exam in September and learned in November that she passed the national certification.

Chelsea remains employed today as a Billing Specialist at Tri-Hospital EMS and hopes to continue to grow in her career. “I was so excited to start at Tri-Hospital and to pass my exam. I am loving my job and am so thankful for the assistance I received,” shared Chelsea. Chelsea had to adapt to a lot of changes and overcome some significant barriers, but her success today is proof that with flexibility, determination, and a positive outlook, you can “crack the code” to a bright future!