Danielle Blahnik


Danielle Blahnik wearing a mask

Though many students at Bay are working towards degrees, the college also boasts a strong workforce training program. One student involved with this side of Bay’s operations is Danielle Blahnik, who is a participant in the college’s Certified Nursing Assistant program.

Danielle graduated from high school in Stephenson in 2014. She started a family shortly after graduating and spent two years as a stay-at-home mom; then, she moved to Gwinn, where she lived for about two more years.

While she was living in Gwinn, Danielle worked in home care and assisted people with disabilities. She said this played a role in inspiring her future decision to go into the nursing field.

“It is broadly similar – you’re helping somebody with their everyday needs,” she said.

After living in Gwinn, Danielle moved back to Stephenson and started working for a cleaning company. However, she found a new job opportunity in January 2021.

“I was actually just looking through the newspaper, and I saw that the nursing home in Stephenson was hiring certified nursing assistants,” she said.

In many cases, care facilities in the area help students gain their certification by paying for them to go through a training program. This was the case for Danielle, who was excited to get both a new job and her education in this field.

“It really was a good opportunity to do something that I wanted to do,” she said.

Currently, Bay offers CNA training on a monthly basis. Danielle started the three-week program on the week of Feb. 8.

“We’re on our second week,” she said.

During the first two weeks of the CNA program, participants learned about topics such as hygiene, bed-making, shaving, and dressing/undressing patients, among other subjects. According to Danielle, her instructor Christy Mathias has done a fantastic job of running classes.

“I don’t think anybody could explain it better than she explains it,” she said, noting Christy takes multiple learning styles into account.

In the third week of the program, students put their knowledge to work by visiting an actual nursing home. Once she is done with her training, Danielle will go to work at the nursing home in Stephenson for four months. Then, she will take Michigan’s state competency evaluation test.

She said she is excited about her new career pathway.

“It has more room to grow and to achieve something,” Danielle said.

Though it may take a few years, Danielle is interested in returning to Bay at some point. When she does, she plans to work towards becoming an LPN.

Danielle said she has been impressed by Bay during her short time at the school, and she looks forward to coming back at some point.

“It’s been a positive experience – good energy,” she said.