For Babra Nankya, Residential Assistant with Walnut House, working in human services is more than just a job - it's a chance to change lives. She's currently completing her bachelor's degree in human services from Fitchburg State University so she can continue to grow professionally within the sector. As part of her coursework, she had to complete a 90-hour practicum in which she could gain first-hand experience with case management work at a placement site.
Since she was already working a full-time job with The Guild, Babra thought completing her practicum here at The Guild School made sense. She knew that managing a 40-hour work week on top of this additional fieldwork would be a lot, and she was relieved that her supervisor was highly supportive of her request. "She was happy about my idea and helped me push it forward," she says.
Babra's supervisor connected her with Suzanne Henderson, The Guild's Director of Professional Development and Research. She was thrilled to support her in her practicum work that would allow Babra to see other departments. "Often, we don't understand what our colleagues are working on in other parts of the organization, and it's so helpful to see the bigger picture," says Suzanne. Suzanne served as the liaison between Babra and other Guild staff, scheduling practicum hours and providing additional research and content for Babra to contextualize her experiences.
Babra's practicum required her to spend one day each week circulating in different departments at the school site for a total of 90 hours by the end of the semester. During her rotations, she gained a thorough understanding of the case management process through observing and interacting with students, drafting assessments, attending parent and IEP meetings, learning documentation protocol, and more.
"Being part of The Guild has been a great opportunity for me because they give undergraduate students flexible schedules which you can change," says Babra. She notes that this flexibility was critical to her success throughout completing her undergraduate degree. In the future, she'd like to continue her education by earning her Master's of Social Work.
The Guild has several opportunities for employees who want to continue their education or engage in professional development. In addition to providing both tuition assistance and student loan repayment assistance, The Guild supports employees by creating customized professional development plans, connecting them with a professional mentor, and assisting undergraduate and graduate students with completing embedded degree requirements.
"We love to see our staff developing their skills and knowledge, whether for their current role or a position they're working toward in the future," says Suzanne.