Associate of Applied Science in Business Technology Administrative Assistant
I-BEST Office Skills I & II Certificates

The oldest of seven children, Elvira ‘Isabel’ Woods had to a lot of responsibility placed upon her at an early age. She grew up in the Lower Valley and helped support her mother and siblings by working in the agriculture fields. At age 10 she got her first job. “School wasn’t a priority. My mother never stressed the importance of school. Instead the priority was always family and the need to help care for my siblings,” stated Woods. “On a typical day she would leave her house at 4:00am, work in the fields, and then return home by 7:45am to get her younger siblings ready for school. She dropped out before seventh grade so she could work more hours. “I tried to return to school, but was unsuccessful, so when I turned 16 I stated working in warehouses and later transitioned to the fast-food industry,” she continued.

In 2012, after working in fast-food for nearly 15 years, she realized she was ready for a change. During this time she also married and had two children. “I felt like I had hit rock bottom. That summer our house was robbed and everything we had been working for was taken. I was also having trouble in my marriage and issues at work,” she stated. That fall she began taking GED courses at YVCC and six months later she had completed her requirements and transitioned to YVCC’s I-BEST Office Skills program. I-BEST programs pair professional or technical programs with ABE courses to provide education access and support for students to progress further and faster along career pathways. Finding success in this program, Woods completed her I-BEST Office Skills I & II Certificates.

Upon completion of her I-BEST Office Skills I & II Certificates she pursued an associate degree in business technology. Woods found success in the classroom and regularly earned a spot on the Dean’s and President’s List. She also was able to job shadow employees and work in YVCC’s Basic Skills Division as a work-study student. She graduated with an associate of applied science degree in business technology administrative assistant.

In November 2015 she again tackled a new challenge at the college, this time as an Instructional and Classroom Support Technician II in the Basic Skills Division. After being hired full-time, Woods is ready to help give back to the community and help make a difference in the life of others.

“As a student I felt very engaged and supported by YVCC’s Basic Skills Division,” stated Woods. “I want to work to inspire others the way I was inspired. Faculty and staff pushed me to never give up and helped me realize that quitting wasn’t an option,” she concluded.

Elvira Woods

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