Jason Brooking earned tuition-free certificate through Next Level Jobs, hired as phlebotomist at area hospital

After a number of debilitating back surgeries, Jason Brooking was able to do nothing but pray for healing. In his 40s, going back to school and pursuing a career seemed to be an unattainable goal. Though, after 6 years, Jason’s prayers were answered. His back had healed enough to take charge of his future.

In spring 2017, Brooking chose Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus to pursue his educational goals. Through Next Level Jobs Indiana’s Workforce Ready Grant, he knew he could earn a Phlebotomy or Electrocardiography (EKG) certificate without paying for tuition.

Brooking did not feel the stigma of attending Ivy Tech as a non-traditional student. “I will always remember my time at Ivy Tech,” Brooking said. “When I enrolled, I was an older student and was never treated any differently than any other student on campus.”

He thrived at Ivy Tech Bloomington. Brooking was a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society. He joined the Student Leadership Academy (SLA) and attended the SLA leadership conference in Indianapolis as well as taking part in Ivy Tech Day at the State House.

“Being involved in PTK and SLA helped me push myself to be the best student that I could be, so that I could take advantage of some of the wonderful opportunities that Ivy Tech had to offer,” he said. “My favorite thing about being a student at Ivy Tech was all of the great people I met along the way.”

He was also able to give back by becoming a peer mentor, using his learned skills to help tutor fellow students. Brooking was able to do all this while taking classes and working. He signed up for a number of 8-week classes to expedite his progress toward his future healthcare career. While 8-week classes can be intense, Brooking felt he did just as well, earning equivalent grades to those in his 16-week courses.

After graduation, having earned certificates in both phlebotomy and EKG, Brooking worked with the Career Development office on campus and landed a job as a full-time phlebotomist at Sullivan County Community Hospital, where he currently works.