YNPN Chicago launched the Professional Growth Grant in April 2020, awarding the initial grant to two participants, one of whom was Korbin Houston. You can read about both inaugural recipients in this blog post. Below is an update from Korbin:
"I started being involved with YNPN Chicago after graduating in 2018. Coming back to Chicago I was trying to reaccumulate myself and expand my professional network in the city. I already liked the welcoming feel of the events, and felt that I wanted to be involved somehow, someway for the long term. I have been to quite a few events and made some great connections along the way. Earlier this year I saw the announcement for the new Professional Growth Grant. I read the criteria and application, and thought 'Well, now is a great time to formalize a membership.'
I did my research, based on my long term goals, and found that the best use for the $500 would be for human resources and diversity and inclusion learning through the Associate Professional in Human Resources® certification by the Human Resources Certification Institute®. The aPHR® is an entry level professional certification in the HR field that certifies an entry level of knowledge around various topics in the field, from labor laws to workplace culture.
Everything went great in the beginning. I received the money and submitted my application to take the test. I did not realize it would be approved automatically and had to sign up for the test date with a day that was in a 120 day period from approval of the application. I spent the entire $500 and then some on the application fee, exam fee, and learning prep. I started studying while working from home and it was great. I was being consistent with my studying and felt myself on pace for the exam in early August. Then the cough I had from a cold didn’t go away after several months and got worse after I started studying. Things went all the way sideways and it took time and quite a few meds to recover.
Of course studying went to the wayside as I struggled to work and keep up with everything. Once better I tried getting on track. It really didn’t happen as I was so backed up from being sick and all that was going on during this pandemic. Eventually, I posted on social media desperate for a study buddy, as I knew if I did not take drastic measures things would not work out with the exam, and I definitely did not want the grant to go to waste. A professor from my alma mater stepped up, as well as one of my friends, to be my accountability buddies. The wonderful professor and I studied weekly and even added days up to the exam. I eventually found more time to study on my own, hoping I could get through and retain as much information as I could before the exam.
The day came after weeks of anxiety around what would happen. I got to the testing center, got checked-in, security scanned, and went on to take my test. The exam itself went smoothly. No interpretations occurred and I finished within the 2 hour and 15 minutes testing time. I clicked finished, didn’t see the results on the screen, checked out the exam room, and was given the printed results. I had passed and I wanted to cry. I told my study buddies and my family first, pretty much a whole lot of other people. I atm now excited to hopefully break into the field and advocate in work places around diversity, equity, and inclusion along with other issues."