This profile is part of a series celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month at St. Petersburg College. Be sure to check out the full story to read more about the experiences of SPC students. To explore all of our degrees and credentials, visit spcollege.edu/degrees.
Gina Wright was 59 years old and working for a cleaning service, when one of her clients suggested a program being offered at St. Petersburg College. When Wright responded that she may be getting too old to go back to school, her client reminded her that Colonel Sanders didn’t start his now multi-billion-dollar chicken franchise until he was 65. Wright reconsidered and enrolled in SPC’s 10-week Phlebotomy Technician program and began classes in November 2020.
“I was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) before, and I love working in healthcare,” she said. “I wanted to get back in that profession to work with the elderly.”
It had been a while since Wright had been in school, but she was determined, and said she gained her strength from her faith.
“Sometimes I thought it might be too much, but I can’t stay stuck – I have to grab hold and go,” she said. “I just have to look at how God is blessing me, and this class is a gift from God.”
Wright credited her instructors for support, both academically and personally.
“They are awesome,” she said. They motivate you to do more and go out of their way to better the community and help people. I figure, if they can invest that much in me, I can, too.”
Wright said that she qualified for the Rapid Credentialing Scholarship, which provides full scholarships funded by $2.2 million in grant funding awarded to SPC through the Florida Department of Education’s Rapid Credentialing Economic Recovery and Prosperity Initiative.
“It paid for my tuition, books, uniform and even the exams and practice exams,” she said.
Just ten weeks after beginning, Wright will finish the program in February, just before her 60th birthday. She plans to find a job in her field, but she also has her eye on some other certifications.
“I’m interested in Radiology or a CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) and maybe hone my skills some more,” she said. “I want to make sure I use this gift.”