Helping students discover and follow their career passion is a key goal for everyone who works at Careerline Tech Center. And when a student recently ran into a potential career barrier, the Tech Center staff utilized their community connections to help.

Emergency Medical Services program student and West Ottawa High School senior Rey Gonzalez was born with a profound hearing loss. With the use of hearing aids and his ability to read lips, Rey participates as any student without a hearing loss would with some accommodations.  

Rey was a student in the Tech Center Phlebotomy program as a junior and wanted to return for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program his senior year. 

“He came to us and asked if the EMS program would be feasible for him given his hearing issues,” EMS Program Instructor Kim Schrader, says. “We said, ‘absolutely!’” 

Rey was highly successful in the program and an outstanding student. As the year progressed and the class moved into taking vital signs, Rey realized he couldn’t hear through the stethoscope so Kim spoke with Consultant Mindy Polak in the Tech Center’s Student Services Office about Rey’s situation.

“We had a student previously with hearing issues, and thanks to our partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) we knew they could help,” Mindy says.

Michigan Rehabilitation Services delivers individualized services that assist potential employees with differing abilities to prepare for, pursue and retain careers. MRS also  partners with business in employee development, business consulting and corporate relations. 

Less than a week after the call was placed, MRS representatives came to the Tech Center and met with Rey and Mindy to start the application process for Rey to begin receiving services through MRS. 

MRS representatives set up meetings with Rey to determine his needs and then connected him with an audiologist to find the right equipment that would work with his hearing aids. 

After these appointments, MRS helped to provide funding for a Bluetooth stethoscope that allows Rey to hear both systolic and diastolic pressures through his hearing aids. This new stethoscope helps Rey take a more accurate blood pressure reading in any situation to better serve his patients.

Rey wasn’t aware of the services available from MRS until he attended Careerline Tech Center. He says his future plans include passing the State of Michigan EMT test to work as an EMT for a couple of years then he plans to become a firefighter/paramedic.

“I enrolled in the EMS program at Tech because I want to help people,” Rey says. “This stethoscope is a game-changer for me and something I wouldn’t have been able to afford without the connection Tech Center helped me make with MRS.”

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