The last few sessions of
Climb Wyoming in Gillette have focused on training single mothers to become
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) to help fill in-demand positions needed in the Campbell County,
Wyoming community. Campbell County Health (CCH) is proud to say that a
few of those mothers have found a home with us.
“I have always enjoyed taking care of people,” says Ashley
Munn, CNA, who works in the Spruce Neighborhood at
The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center. “In fact, I knew that I wanted to do nursing before the Climb program,
but then I got pregnant and had my daughter. I love being a CNA.”
Ashley graduated the Climb program in October 2016, and landed a job with
CCH in December 2016.
A quick visit to the Climb Wyoming website, you’ll learn that the
program was “developed in 1986 to help move single mothers out of
poverty.” As of January 2017, Climb Wyoming in Gillette has served
269 mothers and 581 children—statewide, the program has helped more
than 2,000 families. To show the impact the program has had in Gillette,
before mothers start the Climb Wyoming program:
• more than 50% are unemployed
• those that are employed make roughly $1,173 a month
• more than 60% don’t have health care
• and nearly 42% are using food stamps.
But that all changes 24 months after they complete the program:
• nearly 80% are employed
• on average, they make more than $3,000 a month
• more than half have health insurance
• and less than 19% use food stamps.
The program doesn’t just provide job training and placement—mothers
who enter the program are also trained in life skills such as budgeting,
conflict resolution, nutrition, parenting and time management. They also
attend group and individual counseling sessions to help address personal
barriers that prevented them from success in the past. The ripple effects
of this reaches far beyond the Climb graduate, as their children see and
benefit from the changes their mother has gone through.
“The Climb Wyoming program makes these single mothers well rounded,
and that can be attractive for an employer,” says
Chelsey Petersen, RN, Administrative Director of Nursing at The Legacy. “All of the
Climb Wyoming mothers that we have hired have done well. I feel that they
are satisfied in their job and work hard.”
Ashley, who wasn’t sure if she’d like working in long term
care, agrees with Chelsey. “I love everything about the residents
I work with,” she says. Ashley also says that she loved her time
in the Climb Wyoming program because she wasn’t just thrown into
a job. “They made sure we had the tools we needed to get through
the program and have a successful career,” she says.
Jacqueline (Jackie) Bennett, CNA, also a Climb graduate who works on the
Campbell County Memorial Hospital
Medical/Surgical Unit, is quite thankful that she was accepted to the Climb Wyoming program.
“Climb prepared me not just as a CNA, they also reflected on why
past job opportunities never worked and prepared me emotionally for the
tasks and issues I could face in any health care facility,” Jackie
says. “I grew from this program emotionally and professionally.
I thank God and all the people who are a part of this program.”
Jackie now loves to come to work. “I now work with a team who is
compassionate. I have never left work feeling unappreciated, and I appreciate
the kindness and friendless they have shown me.”
Jackie’s director, Daphne Filbert, MSN, RN, likes the approach that
Climb offers these single mothers.
“I like that Climb helps people who have the drive to do something
more but maybe need a little guidance to get there. I appreciate the collaboration
with Climb, and I am glad this great resource is in our community,”
she says, and adds: “Jacque is wonderful, she is an extremely hard
worker, and she fits in well with our team.”
Another mother, Leslie Cobell, CNA, who works at CCH
Hospice, said that initially she wasn’t sure if the medical field was going
to be a good fit for her, but she’s singing a different tune now.
“You fall in love with the people, and want to be there for them.
I love hearing the patient’s life stories, and interacting with
their families,” says Leslie. “I also work with a great team—they
are always supportive and very good at answering my questions, and helping
Maureen Hurley, RN, CHPN, CCH Home Health and Hospice Services Director
says that she has watched graduates of the Climb program become excellent
employees who also have a strong desire to continue learning.
“The completion of the CNA course has such a positive impact on the
graduates that many are often enthusiastic to continue learning. Some
have gone on to complete their registered nurse (RN) degree,” she says.
Growing in her career is something Leslie is considering now as she eyes
the CNA II certification, and is looking into how to get into the Nursing
“The Climb program is amazing. It physically and mentally prepared
me to be a successful CNA and mother. It helped me figure out what I was
doing wrong in previous jobs so I could get a positive mindset,”
says Leslie. “I encourage all single mothers to consider this program.”
To be considered, participants must attend a meeting that outlines what
Climb Wyoming is and what is expected of them during the program. Ashley,
Leslie and Jackie mentioned that if felt like more than 100 mothers were
at the meetings they attended—and only 10 or 12 made the cut.
After the initial meetings, potential mothers must complete an application
and interview process before they know if they are selected. According
to Stacie McDonald, Gillette Climb Wyoming Program Director, many of the
participants are referred to the program by other Climb graduates.
“Participants are selected based on a variety of factors, including
financial and program eligibility, fit for the training, stability to
complete the program as well as personal readiness for this kind of program
and overall need. It’s a comprehensive process,” she says.
Stacie also mentioned that she’s amazed by all of the Gillette Climb
Wyoming graduates. “The ladies in the CNA trainings care about patient
comfort and dignity in a way that makes me know they are going to be great
at this work,” she says.
The Climb Wyoming program adapts to the needs of businesses in Wyoming—often
training women to enter careers in construction, energy, a variety of
office position, truck driving, and more. In fact, the next Climb Wyoming
job training in Gillette will focus on a Professional Workflow Specialist
career, which will help participants find jobs in administrative positions
within traditional office settings, to warehousing or industrial options.
As you can see, this program is changing lives.
If you’d like more information about upcoming trainings, or want
to learn more about Climb Wyoming, check them out on
Facebook or visit