Kevin Mansfield believes he has been under-employed since moving from California to Idaho nearly five years ago. He worked as a private investigator for the past 12 years, traveling all over the West when assignments came in, expending a lot of personal money just to work a case and then waiting two to three weeks to get paid. While the pay was good, the work was sporadic.
After being randomly selected for an Idaho Department of Labor job search assessment as an unemployment claimant, Kevin was required to attend a class outlining what services were available from the Labor Department and how to look for work.
“The guy who taught the class was fabulous (Frank Garcia), said Kevin. “He obviously had to deal with ‘students’ who could have cared less about being there and were just going through the motions because if they didn’t show, they would lose their UI benefits.”
“I was engaged and asked a lot of questions. I really wanted a different life,” Kevin said. After class, Kevin had a discussion with Frank, who recommended that Kevin talk to the local veterans representative.
Kevin was told about VRAP (Veterans Retraining Assistance Program), which pays a monthly stipend for education in a critical career. He was accepted into the program and began school at North Idaho College as a medical billing specialist with an emphasis in medical coding. Kevin said it was important that the majority of the classes were online, so he could continue to work as a private investigator.
Kevin was told about a new-hire program at Kootenai Health for medical coding students. “In a nutshell, they were going to pay for the training and for me to continue to go to school full time,” Kevin said. He was one of 13 selected for the program for the fall semester.
According to Kevin, there were “two critical pieces of the puzzle pieces coming together” to get him on the way to his new career.
- “I learned about the VRAP program and everything started to come together after that.”
- “The people involved all took an active, interested look at my circumstances and we came up with a plan.”