Tianna White is in her last quarter in the Human Services program at CPTC. Once completed, White will pursue a career where she can help others.

Student Pursues Career to Help Others

July 18, 2014

Ask Tianna White why she chose to pursue a career in Human Services and her response is immediate.

"It was a life and death experience."

White became pregnant with her fourth child while in a paralegal program at a community college. She took a break from school with a plan to return after her baby boy was born.

While in the hospital to give birth, there was a rare complication with White's epidural injection, which caused temporary paralysis and her baby's heart rate to drastically drop. Medical professionals saved the mother and son, and the experience in the hospital made White rethink her career path.

"It was really humbling," White said. "If I were to die today what would people know about me? I'm a great mom and a good person, but is that enough?"

White determined she wanted to pursue a career that served those in need. When White first enrolled in Clover Park Technical College's Human Services Program, she had little confidence in the effect she had on others.

Once she was plugged in as an intern at Resources for Education and Career Help Center in January, it marked the beginning of a path in which she learned just how effective she is. The REACH Center provides career, education and personal development services for young adults, ages 16 to 24.

White saw a need for teen moms and started a weekly support group. She also helped a family secure housing and several find employment.

"When you get those first threads of knowing that someone took what you put out there and learned from it, that catapulted me," White said.

At the end of spring White was asked to assist with Summer Jobs 253, a program led by Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland to help Tacoma youth gain meaningful work experience. More than 100 high school students from Tacoma Public Schools are enrolled and White provides support for about 50 juniors and seniors.

After CPTC, White wants to continue to work for REACH, where she believes in the program's focus and enjoys the environment.

The Human Services Program at CPTC prepares students for mid-level positions in a variety of settings serving diverse populations. For more information, visit www.cptc.edu/programs/human-services.

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