New program helps shift unemployed Georgians into allied health careers

Lawrenceville resident Mylyn Ho is focused on her new career as an ophthalmic assistant and already has a full-time job lined up with an optometrist after she graduates in April from Ocuprep --an Allied Health training program that combines virtual and socially distant in-person instruction.

"It's very exciting for me to enter a new field. I just wanted to get out and try something new after years of working in nail salons," said Ho, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam at the age of 10.

The former nail salon technician said the three-month-long program was exactly what she needed after several months of unemployment in 2020 triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I had to stay home at least six months because the shop was closed for six months. I knew I always wanted to do something different but never had the opportunity," Ho said Friday in between classes in Duluth.

John Marsh created Ocuprep a year ago when he saw the need to bridge the gap between unemployed Georgians and the allied health care industry at a time when skilled healthcare workers are more crucial than ever.

"Healthcare is essential and we were definitely able to weather through the pandemic. A lot of these students lost their jobs and lost their way during COVID. This is designed to train students in careers that are stable," said the Ocuprep CEO. "That's why we work to train ophthalmology assistants, optometry assistants, dental assistants, dialysis technicians."

Ebony McKennedy said she lost her job as a collections agent during the pandemic because, frankly, it was hard to collect money from other folks dealing with their own reduced wages or job losses. She looks forward to starting her career as an ophthalmic assistant after she graduates in mid-April.

"I was unable to meet the quotas when I was in collections, so I ended up without a job. With this job, you're always gonna need eye doctors, so it's more security for me and it's really more in line with my passion for people," said McKennedy, 24, of Atlanta.

A limited number of scholarships are available to enrolling students. More information can be found at

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