“I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be.”
Marquisha dreamed of becoming a successful person when she was younger. But she didn’t know how big she could dream.
“I thought it would be just, you know, a nice rental apartment with a decent vehicle,” she says. “I didn't plan for so much.”
A western Pennsylvania native, Marquisha gave birth to her oldest daughter as a teenager. She was determined not to become “the typical statistic of a teen mom” and wanted instead to provide a bright future for herself and her family. After working years in the food service and retail fields, Marquisha learned about Pathways to Work. The UPMC initiative offers training, education, and support to provide unemployed and underemployed people a path to a successful career.
Marquisha applied for the program and began working as a pharmacy services representative in 2020 at UPMC. Just over two years later, she’s a senior pharmacy services representative.
“It felt like the light at the end of a tunnel,” she says. “I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be.”
In her current role, Marquisha calls UPMC Health Plan members who are behind on their medication refills. She explains to them the importance of them staying up to date on their medication. If the person has barriers to getting their refills, such as transportation issues, she helps to find solutions.
She’s able to use her own life experience to help.
“People have a ton of just normal problems,” Marquisha says. “Sometimes they're choosing between paying bills or getting their medication. That's what really touched me because I've been that person. Just to be able to be on the other end to help someone, it really means so much to me.”
In addition to her primary job, Marquisha is chair of Diversity and Inclusion for her department. She takes great pride in that role, helping employees to feel welcome and providing a safe space for people dealing with personal issues.
UPMC’s Pathways to Work strives to help people like Marquisha find a bright future. Since coming to UPMC, she’s become a homeowner – the first person in her family to do so.
She’s also thankful for the opportunities her children now have. They’re dreaming of their own futures and view her as their role model.
“This is like a dream come true, and it's so crazy because the 14-year-old version of me really had no idea,” she says. “I thought that life would be pretty much a struggle forever. So if I could talk to myself now, I would just have to tell myself, ‘Just wait until you get there if you don't believe it. Because it is coming.’”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means helping dreams become realities.
Learn more about how the Pathways to Work program helps individuals in our community connect with job trainings and job openings.
Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and a wide range of community organizations, we are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve.
Life Changing Medicine at UPMC is made possible every day through the generosity of numerous individuals, corporations and foundations.
With volunteers ranging from teens to seniors and options involving office work or patient care, there's a place for all qualifying volunteers at nearly two dozen UPMC hospitals.