More than 400 students have completed the program over the last five years and 90% of them have good-paying jobs, many at the medical center, said Bruce Nelson, the center's director of community services.
Jackson is one of them.
She has been a medical-records clerk at the center since 2003.
"I never would have gotten this opportunity if not for the program," said Jackson, who is proud to say she lives in a nice apartment with her daughter and owns an SUV. "It was unbelievable. The instructors were very understanding. They took their time. They answered every question I asked. And the spiritual-life classes were really rewarding."
The program began about seven years ago, when the church and hospital wanted to reach out to southeast Glendale, which is medically under-served as defined by the federal government, and try to create a program that helped people help themselves, Nelson said.
"Glendale Adventist Medical Center is interested in the environmental influences that affect health," he said. "We're concerned about wellness for the whole person. We don't just serve the acute moment of a medical crisis or event, but other things in the community that affect health."
So the center hosted community workshops and asked the residents what they needed most to make themselves and their families healthier. And the answers Nelson received surprised him.
"Little did we expect, they said they needed jobs," he said.
The center is one of the top-three largest employers in Glendale with more than 2,300 workers, he said.
So the center leased a building in Highland Park and contracted with the Los Angeles Unified School District's adult-education department to establish a program that helps potential workers learn computer and office skills, and also teaches them how to get, and keep, a job.