Success Stories

Jorge and Amy Camero
Green Forest

Jorge Camero looks at his wife Amy with pride in his eyes. It’s difficult to fight back emotion. He knows it has been a long, hard journey and the odds were against them with two fulltime jobs, four children and a number of college classes. There were times the couple had doubts, and there were times they wanted to quit.

But they are now college graduates and on their way to better lives.

Jorge earned an associate degree in business administration with emphasis in management from North Arkansas College in 2014 and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in human resources at the University of Arkansas. He works at Tyson Foods, where he hopes to become a manager, and later wants to pursue a career in human resources.

Amy earned her associate degree in medical laboratory technology from North Arkansas College in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in 2015. She works as a medical laboratory technician at Cox Medical Center in Branson.

None of these accomplishments would be possible, the two say, without the help of Arkansas Career Pathways, a program affiliated with North Arkansas College that offers those who qualify career training and college classes. The grant funded program helps provide tuition, transportation, child care, career advising and job searching.

“They are great people (at Career Pathways),” Amy said. “They only want to see everyone succeed, so they really do the best job they can to help you.”

Amy, who like her husband was working fulltime at Tyson Foods, said a friend told her about the Career Pathways program and took her to its offices to sign up, noting it was much easier than she thought it would be.

Career Pathways assisted Amy with gasoline cards, child care vouchers and job skills training. They also walked her through the application and financial aid processes.

Amy said once she started classes, she became overwhelmed.

“When I felt like I couldn’t do it, they built me up and encouraged me to keep going,” she said. “They shared their own stories and struggles.”

After graduating, Amy encouraged Jorge to go to college, telling him that if she could earn a degree he could too.

Jorge said when he talked to advisors about attending Northark, he was worried about not doing well in college and taking some remedial classes. Jorge said when he set foot on campus, he realized those fears were unfounded.

“All of the help they offered me motivated me to keep going and finish my degree,” he said. “There are great people at Northark.”

The Cameros said they hope their success inspires not only other families, but also their four children.

“We both came from families that don’t have many things like careers, goals and education,” Amy said. “This is an opportunity for us as a family to encourage our children to want to do well.”

Jorge said he is glad he and Amy took the step to get in touch with Career Pathways and complete their education.

“If I can make it working fulltime, taking care of kids and taking a full load (of classes), everyone can do it,” he said. “You just have to put effort into it.”