Bethany Smith, left, of Menomonie and Jamie Smith of Cornell lined up next to one another prior to the CVTC spring commencement ceremony Friday, May 9. The two Nursing-Associate Degree program graduates are not related.
Bethany Smith of Menomonie found manufacturing work wasn’t quite right for her, especially after her hours changed. Now she’s about to embark on a new career after completing the Nursing-Associate Degree program at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).
“I was working a full-time job, and they switched to a 12-hour shift. I decided I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life,” Smith said.
Smith was one of 621 graduates in 44 academic programs honored Friday night at the CVTC spring commencement ceremony held at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. On Thursday, CVTC honored 46 graduates in five programs at its River Falls Campus. The number of graduates at Eau Claire was very similar to the spring 2013 graduation, which honored 626 graduates.
The most popular programs among this spring’s graduates at the Eau Claire campus are Nursing, with 80 graduates, Business Management with 38 graduates, and Electrical Power Distribution with 30.
When Smith, a single mother, decided to go back to school, she found help through the Bridges2Healthcare program that provides job retraining for displaced and low income workers. The program helped her explore opportunities in the healthcare field.
“I always wanted to do something in the medical field,” Smith said. “I have always been fascinated by the human body and how it works, and I like taking care of people.”
Smith is considering emergency room or surgical work as long-term goals in the nursing field.
“The decision to go back to school was an easy one, but leaving the security of a full-time job was hard,” she said.