Traci Wood’s life certainly has changed for the better since she enrolled in Rend Lake College in Fall 2000.
When she found herself laid off from her job after 10 years, she opted to make a career change and took advantage of RLC’s Informational Technology programs. Wood, a longtime Wayne City resident, now holds an Informational Technology position with St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon.
Mark Clark, Director of Information Systems for St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan, touted Wood’s “positive, energetic personality and her knowledge of personal computers and networks” as factors that led to the hospital’s hiring decision. The Information Systems department is customer-service oriented and places a high value on the positive attitude that Wood displays, according to Clark.
Wood saw the value in gaining new skills and training after being laid off from a manufacturing company in Fairfield.
At RLC, she began developing skills for her new career by enrolling in the IT Systems Specialist Program in August 2000. The program includes classes on computer hardware, Microsoft and Linux operating systems, Microsoft and Novell network administration, network infrastructure development and administration and computer programming with Visual Basic.
Like many adult learners, Wood juggled the duties of being a parent to Chelsea and Britton and a wife to Gib, all the while maintaining a 3.870 grade-point-average at Rend Lake College. Wood received her degree and four certificates during the graduation ceremony held in May 2002 and has earned a Novell Certified Network Administrator and a CompTIA A + Technician Certification since then.
After a thorough job search throughout the area, Wood said she found her "dream job" as an Information Systems Specialist working in the Good Samaritan Hospital complex in Mt. Vernon. She uses many of the skills that she developed at RLC in her current position and is expanding her knowledge into several new areas.
Currently, Wood assures that the computer data from Good Samaritan, St. Mary’s and their 18 outlying health care facilities has been backed up successfully each day. She has been involved in the implementation of the enhanced 911 system that will be initiated in both hospitals and has developed databases to facilitate equipment availability and commercial contract requirements.
Clark also assigned Wood to a telecommunications project that conducted research on the geographical limitations of cellular phone/pager systems and the needs of hospital personnel. As part of Wood’s new responsibilities, she "fills in" on the help desk that is run by the IS department to support the computer users in the St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan group and publishes data on the efficiency of the IS department systems.
Wood attributes her success to "all the knowledge I gained while taking classes at Rend Lake College," and it is obvious to all who meet her that her positive attitude had an impact on beginning a new career in Information Systems.