“Embracing a new start, and empowering you” — that is the motto of the New Life Business Institute in Jamaica, and students who have completed the program, say it is true to its word.
The school, founded in 2003 by Sheila Flynn, who spoke about the program at a Community Board 12 meeting on March 21, offers medical office assistant and medical billing specialist training.
The facility also has personal enrichment courses in computer-aided drafting, legal secretarial work, private investigation and computer concepts.
“We are different from other business schools because we are actually getting jobs,” Flynn said. “We have an 80 percent job placement rate. We give out free business clothing, and free computers to the students, once they finish training.”
NLBI, located at 161-10 Jamaica Ave., is licensed by the state Department of Education and the federal government and is nationally accredited, Flynn said. It offers financial aid, grants and scholarships. For more information, the school can be reached at (718) 737-6524 or online at nlbi1.com.
Students must have a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll, but exceptions are made in cases where an individual can demonstrate the “ability to benefit” from the training and pass a special exam.
Former student Tracey Lyons of St. Albans successfully completed the program and obtained employment despite having a criminal record.
“Before I came into the school, I didn’t have any education and I had a criminal background, and I didn’t know what to do with my life,” Lyons said at the meeting. “I was ready to change, but I didn’t know how to change.”
Lyons said from the moment he walked in the door of the NLBI, the staff made him feel like it was possible to turn his life around. He went back to school, got his GED, became a certified medical assistant and has been working in the field for a few years.
Guiana Richardson of Jamaica enrolled in NLBI last year after a chance encounter with a man on the street and she said the school has helped her immensely.
“My life was kind of on a shaky path,” Richardson said. “So, I decided I needed to go to school and further my education.”
She was employed as a direct care worker, which helped keep food on the table, but she felt like she wanted to do more with her life. One day, she walked past the school and a man handed her a flier and asked her if she would like to sign up for classes in medical billing.
She decided to take him up on his offer.
“I told Sheila, I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to change,” Richardson recalled, adding, “I finished in December, and I’m here to say that I’m happy because I work for the veterans hospital. ... I thank Sheila because she opened doors for me and showed me that there is hope.”