Rebecca Rosa does not give up easily. She didn't give up learning after having four kids at an early age. She didn't give up when her daughter suffered an injury that nearly killed her.
"I definitely like learning every single day," Rosa said. "Sometimes there's a barrier. There's difficulty to new things."
Rosa is a student at SUNY's Capital District Educational Opportunity Center in Troy. She is getting free training to pursue her certificate in medical billing in the same building where in June she received her high school equivalency, though the pandemic prevented her from walking the stage at a traditional graduation.
When her daughter fell ill, Rosa was helped by SUNY mentors to continue learning. Rosa says she's going to school to further her career and also show her kids, especially one of her sons, that learning never stops.
"He thinks, oh you know, I'm too old to go to school," she said. "So I'm also giving an example to my kids to say you know what, it's never too late."
Rosa is one of the many students who receive free training under SUNY's educational opportunity centers. She received her high school equivalency in the same building and is taking classes in person for medical office administration.
SUNY has expanded many course offerings to be online as well. The educational opportunity centers are being prioritized by SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras to cater to students like Rosa who also has work during the day. About 200 people have enrolled so far in the free online training and there have been 2,000 inquiries.
"Sometimes it's very, very tiring," she said. "But I just keep going. I'm keeping up with my vitamins."
Rosa's day job is at Samaritan Hospital, where she checks people in at the emergency room. But she hopes to move forward in her career, using the knowledge she gained at the EOC.
"They gave me the opportunity to work and finish school. So that's what I did," she said. "I promised that if you give me the opportunity I will live up to that. And I did."