Career goals achieved with quick training, financial assistance program

With a full-time job and two children at home, Katie Jernigan understood she needed additional education to secure a well-paying job. Knowing she wanted to enter the healthcare field, Jernigan’s first step was to peruse the Sandhills Community College website to view her options. She desired to begin work as soon as possible and discovered that the Workforce Continuing Education (WCE) division has a dozen short-term training options in healthcare.


“There are so many options for quick training in health care,” says Jernigan. The eleven-month Medical Assisting program was perfect for her. She would be cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties in physician’s offices and outpatient care facilities. 


After narrowing down the class, Jernigan had to consider the finances. She inquired about WCE scholarships and resources and was connected with Maria Motta, Food & Nutrition Services Employment and Training Program (FNS E&T) Educational Navigator. This federally funded program is in partnership with the local Department of Social Services and helps qualified individuals with support services to which they may not otherwise have access.


Jernigan received financial support through the FNS E&T program to help with tuition and fees, instructional materials, and exam fees. “This program is extraordinary,” she said. “They offer gas cards to offset the cost of travel to campus and help with everyday needs, including rent and utility assistance.” 


Reflecting on the program, Jernigan says, “This program changed my life. I was able to accomplish my goals because of the financial help and support I received. I am truly grateful for the FNS E&T program and Maria Motta.”


With the financial burden eased, Jernigan could focus on her studies. The SCC Medical Assisting Program is an eleven-month, three-part program designed to prepare students to work under the direction of a physician to perform administrative and clinical/practicum duties. Jernigan particularly loved the breadth of skills she learned, from EKG training, drawing blood, clinical duties, and administration training. “Performing in-office scenarios was my favorite. I received real hands-on experience for life after school,” says Jernigan.


In October 2022, Jernigan accepted a full-time position at Pinehurst Surgical Clinic. “I love my job,” she said. “I have learned so much and have had the opportunity to work with exceptional surgeons, surgical technicians, and other medical assistants. They are extremely knowledgeable and continue to give me hands-on training to be the best in my profession.” 


She also thanks Sandhills Community College for helping parents who want to provide for their families receive the training needed for a better career and future. “Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I was not going to give up on my dreams.”


If Katie Jernigan’s story inspired you and you want a career in healthcare, find out more about the Medical Assisting program starting on Jan. 23 at or contact Melinda Morgan at 910-695-3913 [email protected]


To learn more about additional quick job training opportunities and resources at Sandhills, call the Workforce Continuing Education department at 910.695.3980. 


Spring Semester


WCE classes, like the one Jernigan took, do not require an application and have varied start dates throughout the semester.


The 16-week curriculum/college credit semester and first eight-week session begin on January 9. The second eight-week session begins on March 13. Students can take a mix of full-semester classes alongside eight-week session classes. Current students can register for spring semester classes using Self-Service. New students can apply from the link at


Go to to view the complete schedule of WCE classes and information about all SCC majors, CCP programs and classes, transfer opportunities, and registration.


Boys & Girls Club


Sandhills is now the location of a new Boys & Girls Club Unit. It runs from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. for kindergarten through 5th grade. The club is ideal for parents/guardians taking SCC afternoon/evening classes, those who need study time, need to utilize the computer lab, or work on projects. Club participants will receive homework assistance, and dinner is provided. The cost is $40 per child per year.


In addition, there is a drop-in club from 6-9 pm for children of parents/guardians taking evening classes or needing to meet for group projects or other reasons. Dinner is provided for the children. This drop-in club is free. 


For more information or to register, contact Edith-Ann Jackson at [email protected] or 910.638.6502.

Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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