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An Open-Heart Leads Inmate’s to Success in the Outside World

Happy June! The beginning of a new month means another spotlight, but this month we are changing it up and spotlighting a candidate from our Allied Professionals division. June marks the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer, so we thought it only made sense to spotlight someone who radiates optimism, positivity, encouragement and the ability to lead with an open heart. Without further ado, please welcome Jessica!

Howdy Jessica!

Jessica originally joined our Allied Professionals division back in 2017 working as a per diem Medical Case Worker at a hospital in Southern California. She’s been in the healthcare field for a total of eight years with three and a half years being a medical caseworker. Currently, she’s on assignment at a local jail facility as a caseworker serving inmates to ensure they have proper support, access to resources and opportunity to move forward after their release from jail.

Jessica’s inspiration for pursuing a career in the healthcare field came when she was a little girl. “When I was younger, my aunt had bipolar disorder,” Jessica explained, “she would sometimes forget or wouldn’t take her medication. As a little girl, all I wanted to do was help my aunt and figure out how to help her.” Since then, Jessica completed her studies in psychology at her university, worked at a rehab center straight out of college and proceeded to work at a crisis center surrounding children with behavior problems. 

As a medical caseworker, her responsibilities mainly include assessing the client, linking the client to services before release and making sure the client receives said services after release. Jessica compared her work to those who work in the social work field, “so you have to have an open heart to deal with these types of situations.” Some of the services the jail offers include housing, medical help/assistance such as drug or alcohol abuse services, access to clinics, food and more. However, with all the services available, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easily accessible and guaranteed.

“LA County has one of the largest homeless populations and a major lack of homeless housing,” Jessica exclaimed, “there is a big fear of not being able to find your client housing and because of that, some may slip through the cracks. We are dealing with people who do not have access to a cell phone either and we may lose contact with them after being released for x amount of days.”

LA County officials estimated in 2019 the number for the homeless population to be roughly 58,936, which is a 12 percent increase from 2018 (36,300). According to a Forbes article, the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County has the second-highest number of people experiencing homelessness in 2019. One could imagine what Jessica and other fellow medical caseworkers experience when trying to provide the necessary services to recently released inmates but lack proper funding or resources – it’s not easy.

Besides battling the homeless population housing crisis, Jessica tackles daily challenges like communication with the sheriff’s office or handling the passing of inmates with compassion and reassurance. “When I first meet a client, I found the more honest you are with them then they will be honest with you,” Jessica explained, “and reassuring them that ‘we are here for them.’”

Communication plays a huge role in success for the inmates and the sheriff’s department. For someone who works with inmates, it’s important to have clear and concise instructions between the sheriff’s office when handling incoming and outgoing inmates. Additionally, having the patience to understand people come from different backgrounds and perspectives has helped Jessica transition into her current role. She recognizes this role and the roles before have helped shape her into a humbler person.  

“We are all going through something and we all need a bit of help at some point.”

During Jessica’s spare time outside of the cold walls of jail (and outside of COVID-19), she enjoys a good book, writing, traveling, driving through the canyons nearby her home in the San Fernando Valley, hitting the beach, relaxing out back in her backyard or practicing her passion for dance! With the global pandemic, she’s found alternative means to keep her busy like reigniting her passion for entrepreneurship by re-starting her own business, learning about digital marketing, sales, and e-commerce, and getting her certification as a personal trainer, to name a few.

Although Jessica shines on her own, every great humanitarian would be nothing without the support they receive from loved ones or even colleagues. Hana, Jessica’s recruiter here at KPG Healthcare, has been with Jessica since the beginning of her journey in California and Hana has fought tooth and nail for what Jessica deserves for her assignments. Hana has been accommodating, transparent, trustworthy and a real advocate for Jessica – whenever and wherever.

On behalf of everyone here at KPG Healthcare, we want to say thank you for continuing your passion to help others and for allowing yourself to lead with an open-heart in everything you do. Your optimism and love for what you do are noticed and recognized. Keep up all the fantastic work you do and please be safe!

Jessica’s Dream Travel Destination: The Caribbean, Italy, Israel, Thailand

Advice for anyone interested in healthcare:

  1. Make sure it’s something you want to do. It takes a person with an open heart to take on this job.
  2. Be prepared for the unexpected.
  3. Recognize that every day isn’t the same.
  4. This job is rewarding if you put in the effort