Crawford Spotlight: Local Mom Finds Success and Support in One-Year Certificate Program

Jessica Hickman, a dedicated single mom and seasoned office manager, is embarking on a journey through a one-year certificate program in Operations Management at North Central State College. Her story is one of resilience, empowerment, and the unwavering support of her community.

Discovering the opportunity through a connection made at a Galion Chamber event, Jessica wanted to expand her skills. “My boss connected me to Nate Harvey from the Crawford Success Center to keep growing in my career as an office manager,” Jessica explains, highlighting the importance of seizing opportunities for professional development.

With six years of experience in office management, Jessica views the certificate program as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. “It’s going to boost my skills and help solidify my knowledge, especially in areas like accounting,” she shares.

For Jessica, who has been out of school for nearly two decades, the prospect of returning to college as a single mom initially felt overwhelming. However, the supportive environment alleviated her apprehensions. “North Central State College has done a wonderful job of giving me all the resources I have needed,” Jessica says.

North Central’s Operations Management Certificate program allows students to complete a series of coordinated courses in a shorter period than an associate degree.  This certificate is eligible for federal financial aid.

The accessibility of the Crawford Success Center has also been instrumental in Jessica’s success. “Making the drive to Mansfield all the time is really hard, especially with children,” she admits. Jessica is thankful for the Crawford Success Center offering essential resources, from computer labs to printing services, making academic pursuits possible for individuals like her.

In addition to academic support, Jessica acknowledges the invaluable assistance provided by her community, both within and beyond the program. “Having friends who help me focus on one assignment at a time has made the biggest difference,” she reflects, emphasizing the importance of surrounding oneself with encouraging and supportive individuals.

“Everyone has been so kind and supportive,” Jessica says. “The campus also offers a food pantry program and that is something I have had to utilize a couple of times this year. The staff makes it accessible here at the Crawford Success Center and it’s been a huge help to me and my kids.”

As Jessica continues her educational journey, her story serves as inspiration, demonstrating the power of education and the strength of community support.