Portage Lakes Career Center


Brittany Gum

Practical Nursing Program Student

I was always the go-to person, especially when it came to health issues. For 20 years, we lived in a small town in West Virginia. It’s a completely different lifestyle out in the country. Hospitals are miles away and we took care of our own. People knew that they could count on me to provide a ride to doctors’ appointments, help care for elderly neighbors in their homes, and even patch up minor injuries.

My family has a strong history in vocational work: my mom and stepdad drove semi-trucks, and my husband was a lumber grader. I dropped out of high school but earned my GED less than six months later through the Wayne County Adult Education Center. College isn’t for everybody. It doesn’t always fit in financially, and it’s just not doable for some people to be in school for four years. I have four children, ages ranging from 24 to 11, and I’m a grandmother of three. When our son was interested in diesel mechanics, and there were no local opportunities, we moved to back to Massillon, Ohio, so he could enroll in a training program.

We’ve been here since 2016, and it hasn’t been easy. I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent treatments, several family members died, and then, my husband was sentenced to prison for 22 years. I’m an open book so I don’t mind saying that it was a lot, and it was a mess. But life happens and you can’t control what other people do.

We were without a breadwinner so I took the first job that was offered to me. I started in the laundry of a long-term care facility but eventually, I earned certification to be a State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) so I was able to help care for our clients. Because I wanted job security and needed to earn more money to provide for my family as a single mother, I decided to pursue a career as a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN).

I applied to Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) and another local program. I’m a straight-forward kind of girl so I appreciated PLCC’s practical nursing coordinator being up front with me about the workload, time commitment and cost. I was happy to learn that the cost of PLCC’s LPN program included everything I’d need, from start to finish. I was even provided a stethoscope, pulse oximeter, and a blood pressure cuff. The other program I’d applied to had a lot of fine print where I discovered that there were extra fees for books, labs, and more.

I chose to enroll in the 16-month part-time LNP program at PLCC so I could have some flexibility with family and work obligations. While in school, I was still able to keep my job at the long-term care facility, working two 12-hour shifts a week. It’s a big sacrifice to study to be a nurse while working and being a single mom. You do what you have to do, and I did plenty of studying in the car while my daughter was at cheer practice. 

The instructors at PLCC push you to be the best person and nurse you can be, but they are there to help every step of the way. It’s not easy and it does take personal drive but it’s a career, it’s not flipping burgers. There are lives at stake so you’re motivated to do your best.

The state-of-the-art labs and the technical aspects of my courses were hands-on so I feel confident in my skills. I also loved the clinical experiences like going to schools and conducting vision and hearing screenings. It also was interesting going to facilities like Aultman Woodlawn where I observed teamwork and different therapy-based treatments.

I was so proud of myself for graduating from PLCC’s practical nursing program in November 2021. It was a good feeling to know that my children saw my commitment to my career and our family, and they’d witnessed the hard work that I’d put in to make it happen. I have an LPN job offer, pending a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) which I am taking this month.

Even though I graduated, PLCC is still helping me. As part of the cost of my education, I can take advantage of the ATI review program to prepare for the
NCLEX exam. I get practice questions as well as support and feedback from my personal online coach. When I receive a ‘green light’ from my coach it means that I’ve demonstrated readiness to pass the NCLEX. If I don’t accomplish anything else, I’ll be so proud to have those three letters—LPN—after my name.

My 11-year-old daughter is showing signs of wanting to someday work in the medical profession. She’s smart, caring, and always steps up to help people. Maybe college will be for her, but if it’s not, I never want her to be in a position where she feels like she’s stuck. I have pretty high standards for my kids, and I wouldn’t hesitate to send my daughter to PLCC.

I’ve grown so much, as a person, because I took charge of my life and went back to school. It’s been invigorating to prove to myself, and my children, that I can do this—I’m not a quitter. No matter what happens, you can always make a choice to make a change. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity and support PLCC provided to me when I chose to invest in my future.

Schedule a Tour

We take pride in our facility and welcome the opportunity to show it off!  You would never buy a car without looking at it first.  Choosing the place to give you a head start on a successful path in life should be no different.  We invite you to schedule a tour of our beautiful campus.  We’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed!

If you are a high school student, please note that you will have several opportunities to visit PLCC during your sophomore year.

Once we receive your request, a PLCC staff member will follow up directly. Thank you for your interest, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Portage Lakes Career Center is accessible to visitors with physical disabilities. Visitors should contact the Main Office at 330-896-8200 prior to arrival for parking instructions and other information.