CCA Student Begins Healthcare Career ‘Step by Step’ with Care Forward Colorado 


As a working mother of four, Zahara Mohamed learned to take her education journey one day at a time.

“When I was doing my clinicals and taking classes, I would do my homework while the kids slept, so I didn’t get much sleep myself,” said Mohamed, a student at the Community College of Aurora (CCA). “I had to go step by step.”

Originally from Ethiopia, Mohamed dreamed of working in a hospital and enrolled in CCA’s nursing program in 2021. As she struggled to balance work, parenting, and school, she decided to switch to the certified nursing assistant (CNA) program that requires fewer credits.    

That’s when she received an unexpected boost from Care Forward Colorado, a state program that covers costs for entry-level healthcare training.

“We are a family of six, so it’s not easy to pay for school. We have a lot of things to buy for our kids, and we have our bills,” she said. With the financial support, “I didn’t worry about anybody else when I went to class. That made me happy.”

Care Forward Colorado paid for Mohamed’s CNA training—an opportunity that led to her first job in healthcare at UC Health. She enjoys the diversity of patients she supports every day and is proud to bring her culture to the workplace.

“I speak three languages including English,” she said. “Sometimes we have people who speak Amharic. Until the interpreter comes, I can help the patient understand what the nurse is doing.”

Mohamed is already taking the next step in her career journey. She’s currently working on a phlebotomy certificate from CCA—also covered by Care Forward Colorado funding—and hopes to restart her nursing training.

She encouraged other working parents to follow in her footsteps and take advantage of the zero-cost programs. 

“When you are excited about learning, you can get through any challenge. Don’t be scared, just go in and start the journey,” she said.

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