Stephanie Hake has worked since she was 14. But after she gave birth to her first son, she stepped back: Child care was just too expensive to make the numbers work.
“I had a great job, but my employer wasn’t able to be flexible,” Stephanie said. Her husband, who runs his own business, became the sole breadwinner.
Stephanie applied for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC), a program of Community Progress Council that helps young families live healthier lives. Her nutritionist shared the opportunity to connect with a coach at Community Progress Council, someone who would do a deeper dive to help Stephanie explore her employment options long-term.
“I wanted to see what options I had, to be able to jump back into the workforce once my kids were getting a bit older,” Stephanie said. “I love being a mom, don’t get me wrong. But as my kids get older, they’re gonna start doing other things. Why not do something beneficial for my family and myself?”
With her coach’s encouragement and support, Stephanie chose to focus on medical billing and coding.
Living in a rural area in York County, the ability to work from home was key — she was tired of commuting up to an hour for work, especially now with her young kids.
At the same time, she connected with a home visitor from Community Progress Council’s Early Head Start program to provide home-based early childhood services and ensure her kids were off to a great start.
Stephanie is celebrating every small step of progress: First her certified medical administrative assistant certification. Then her current procedural terminology exam. Now she’s working toward her medical billing and coding certification.
“To be in medical billing and coding, it’s very hard to get in without some kind of certification,” Stephanie said. “But once you have this, the sky’s the limit. Once I have this certification, I can only go up.”
Once she gains employment, Stephanie and her family could qualify for a child care subsidy to help offset the costs of child care for her children, now 3 and 1.
Her classes have been hard — much harder than what she anticipated, she admits. The CPT exam alone is a five-hour exam. Her coach has been a cheerleader from day one.
“She doesn’t even intentionally pep talk me, but every time I talk to her I’m pepped,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie has navigated two surgeries for herself, cared for her one son who needed tubes placed in his ears, and worked through her other son’s behavioral issues at his preschool.
“Whenever I have to step back to care of my family, [my coach] is there to boost me up and bring me back. She’s my go-to for everything.”
What’s next for Stephanie? She’s eager to continue growing. She enrolled in the winter session of “Getting Ahead in A Just Gettin’ By World,” a program of Community Progress Council where participants investigate how poverty affects their lives and their communities.
Her hope is to dive deep within, and learn different tools and ways of thinking to make progress.
“Any tools in your belt is a good thing to have.”