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At age 18, Debra Burton, a single mother, dropped out of high school. A resident of North Philadelphia—where opportunities for advancement were scarce—she found a job as a nursing aide. Looking to advance in her career, she began searching for a way to translate her years of on-the-job training with a recognized credential.
At age 40, Debra found a little known non-profit fund that proved to be the key to advancement: the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund. This creative approach enabled Debra to enroll in a behavior health technician program and obtain an associate’s degree. The program reimbursed her tuition and arranged additional tutoring. At age 51, armed with a college degree, Debra secured a much better-paying job in the North Philadelphia Health System. She is the first in her family to obtain a college degree, and she continues to give back by mentoring others in her community.
Meet other Americans nationwide who are seizing the possibilities of the connected age. View their personal stories.
America is in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in over a hundred years and the defining challenge is how to ensure that all Americans are included in this new economy.
The District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund mission is to provide access to career pathways in healthcare and human services and to create a highly-skilled workforce.