Shanique Moore (left) and Chawnice Battle-Worney became phlebotomists at YNHH after graduating from New Haven's Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology.

As a child, Shanique Moore had a health issue that required numerous tests, and she was always fascinated by the work of the phlebotomists who drew her blood.

Years – and a couple careers – later, she is the one drawing blood, as a phlebotomist at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. In 2014, Moore was valedictorian of her graduating class at New Haven's Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT), which provides training and education to help unemployed and under-employed adults secure meaningful, well-paying jobs.

YNHH is a sponsor of the non-profit center, which offers phlebotomy technician and medical billing and coding training, along with training in culinary fields. Since ConnCAT opened in 2012, Yale New Haven Health System has hired more than a dozen graduates. Moore joined the outpatient blood draw station at Smilow after completing an externship at YNHH in fall 2014.

"My career here is something I was striving for and it's been very rewarding," she said. "Both ConnCAT and Yale New Haven Hospital have been great places and it's been a wonderful experience."

"Our partnership with ConnCAT has been mutually beneficial," said Kevin A. Myatt, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, YNHHS. "We're providing career opportunities to Greater New Haven residents, and in return, we have highly qualified, well-trained healthcare professionals caring for our patients."

Moore and Chawnice Battle-Worney, both New Haven residents, said ConnCAT provided personal and professional skills that have helped them on the job and in life. Battle-Worney was working part time at a store when she enrolled at ConnCAT.

After graduating, she completed her externship at YNHH last September and a month later became an outpatient phlebotomist who floats among different Smilow Cancer Care Centers.

"ConnCAT showed me how to help myself to become more than what I was doing," she said. "The training and work are very hard but you come out ready for whatever challenges come your way."

Moore said ConnCAT and YNHH helped her find her true calling. "I love working with people, and I didn't realize how much until I started doing this," she said. "What I do is so fulfilling and rewarding. I know I'm making a difference."