Partnership helps West Ottawa, Careerline Tech Center student thrive –

HOLLAND — A collaboration between the Careerline Tech Center and Michigan Rehabilitation Services helped a West Ottawa student pursue a career passion this school year.
Rey Gonzalez, a senior this year at West Ottawa High School, was born with profound hearing loss and uses hearing aids and lip reading to succeed in the classroom. He enrolled in the CTC phlebotomy program as a junior and enrolled in the emergency medical services program as a senior.
As the year progressed, Gonzalez realized he couldn’t hear through a stethoscope when taking vital signs. EMS program instructor Kim Schrader spoke with Mindy Polak in the CTC Student Services Office, who worked with Michigan Rehabilitation Services to find a solution.
“We had a student previously with hearing issues, and thanks to our partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services we knew they could help,” Polak said.
The organization met with Gonzalez within a week to determine his needs and connected him with an audiologist to find a solution.
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Afterward, MRS helped provide funding for a Bluetooth stethoscope, which allowed Gonzalez to hear systolic and diastolic pressures through his hearing aids.
“I enrolled in the EMS program at Tech because I want to help people,” Gonzalez said. “This stethoscope is a game-changer for me and something I wouldn’t have been able to afford without the connection Tech Center helped me make with MRS.”
Gonzalez says he plans to pass the State of Michigan EMT test to work as an EMT for “a couple of years” before becoming a firefighter or paramedic.