Health Professions Opportunity Grant helps Rodriguez reach her goals

Aug 1, 2019Melissa Trevizo

Gabrielle Rodriguez has completed the certified nursing aide, certified medication aide, and medical office professional programs at San Jacinto College all made possible through the Health Profession Opportunity Grant.


"I've always known that I wanted to work with people and help them in some way," Rodriguez said. "I knew that the medical field was something I was interested in, but I wasn't sure what specialty or how I was going to make it happen."


Rodriguez was taking phlebotomy courses when an instructor announced the grant, which is administered by the Administration for Children and Families and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eligible since 2015, San Jacinto College was one of only 10 higher education institutions chosen for the grant.


HPOG was created to provide education and training to low-income individuals for occupations in the health care field that pay well and are expected to either experience labor shortages or be in high demand and boasts more than 23,000 participants nationwide.


"As soon as I find out about the grant, I immediately went to find out more information," Rodriguez said. "I met with representatives who started counseling me on what programs would work best for me, and they encouraged me to apply."


Applicant eligibility is based on income status as well as passing a background check, drug test, and a skills assessment test. Once eligibility is verified, applicants undergo an intake where they are randomly selected via lottery. Through the grant, students' tuition, books, and supplies are covered, but they also can be eligible for laptops, Wi-Fi, and gas cards.


"When I found out that I was chosen for the grant, I was so excited," Rodriguez said. "I had a baby around that time, and knowing that school was something I didn't have to worry about was amazing. I'm very appreciative."


Rodriguez is currently working towards completing an Associate of Applied Science in medical coding and billing — something that has become her ultimate goal.


"Through my different certifications I've been able to learn more and more about the medical field," Rodriguez said. "I'm currently a medication aide and at a rehabilitation and nursing home. It's not where I want to be forever, but I'm so grateful for the training I received to get me here and to help me reach my future goals."


HPOG funding ends in September 2020, but students are still being accepted. To find out more about the Health Profession Opportunity Grant, visit