IRVINE, CALIF. May 17, 2023 – Pacific Dental Services® (PDS), a leading national leading dental and medical support organization, is celebrating a groundbreaking achievement this week as it honors the first graduate from its College Advancement Program. Deja Yslava, who started at PDS two and a half years ago first as a healthcare coordinator and worked her way up to operations manager in training (OMT), has earned her bachelor’s degree in community health from Arizona State University (ASU) through the program.
The PDS College Advancement Program, which launched in 2021, is the first of its kind in the dental industry, offering eligible team members 100 percent up-front college tuition coverage towards an undergraduate degree of their choice through ASU Online. In partnership with InStride, a premier global provider of strategic workforce education, the program allows PDS operations managers, healthcare coordinators and dental assistants the flexibility and satisfaction of advancing their careers while earning their education tuition and debt-free – all while remaining employed full-time.
Yslava was inspired by her father, a self-made, hardworking man who dreamt of his children attaining higher education and graduating from college. She began attending on-campus classes at ASU in 2015 but had to stop two years shy of graduating, in part due to the heavy financial burden. Starting in 2021, the PDS College Advancement Program provided the scholarship funds that enabled her to resume her studies online while continuing to work and eventually graduate.
Yslava said she chose community health as her major to help those in need and gained knowledge that informs her work at PDS. “I learned a lot about health literacy through my degree program and how every patient has a different understanding of his or her own health,” Yslava said. “In my work as an OMT, it’s a good reminder to meet patients where they are as individuals and help educate them about not only their oral health but its connection to their overall health.”
“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Pacific Dental Services has given me to achieve my dream of earning a college degree, and for the support and encouragement that my managers provided along the way. I feel truly valued by PDS and have a deep sense of loyalty and appreciation for the investment the company has made in me and my future.”
Trish Elliott, vice president of PDS’ people services department, said, “We are thrilled to celebrate the graduation of our first College Advancement Program participant, Deja Yslava. At Pacific Dental Services, we are dedicated to fostering the growth and development of our team members, both personally and professionally. This milestone is a testament to our commitment to providing team members with the resources and opportunities to thrive in their careers and in life.”
According to a survey taken by team members currently enrolled in the College Advancement Program, 94 percent of learners said the program increased their desire to grow their professional career with PDS. This program is one of several education benefits available to the company’s team members. For those who may not be eligible for the College Advancement Program, other options include a traditional tuition reimbursement program up to $5,250 per year, over 1,000 units of free continuing education, and a professional development program focused on specialized training and certificates.