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Workforce Alliance Earns Grant to Train Health Care Workers

Initiates Training Program Partnering with Healthcare Employers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Workforce Alliance was awarded a $134,790 grant by the State of Florida to fund a workforce training program aimed at meeting the high need for skilled health care workers in Palm Beach County.

The program is titled the Palm Beach County Healthcare Workforce Initiative. The funding enables Workforce Alliance to form a partnership with employers in the healthcare field, St. Mary's Medical Center, and the Jupiter Medical Center, and initiate a strategy for recruitment and training of participants for healthcare jobs. For persons already employed in the health care field, the program will fund training for higher qualified positions.

"Despite the loss of jobs in a variety of other sectors in the past year, the demand for skilled healthcare workers in Palm Beach County continues to rise," said Kathryn Schmidt, President and CEO of Workforce Alliance. "This grant gives opportunities to many people for employment or better, higher skilled employment and contributes greatly to our mission of helping to drive economic growth in our County through innovative workforce solutions."

Ms. Schmidt added, "The State grant will be supplemented with $143,688 in funds from Workforce Alliance and the partnering healthcare organizations, bringing the total investment in the local economy to $278,478. The projected openings for new employment and promotions in the healthcare field represent a beacon of hope to the thousands of displaced, unemployed and underemployed workers in the County."

During planning sessions and the grant application process, the partners in the initiative identified the training courses and certifications that most closely match employer needs for recruiting new employees and promoting incumbent workers.

Participants in the training phase who are unemployed will be eligible to enroll in a credential-based Allied Health or Nursing course at any education and training provider with an active contract with Workforce Alliance to provide healthcare-related training. There are ten such educational providers and all are listed on the Workforce Alliance website, under "job seeker / training opportunities."

For participants currently employed at partnering hospitals, Workforce Alliance will provide funding to the hospital for on-site certification preparation, training, and skill upgrades. It will include courses and certification preparation for such occupations as Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN), Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Obstetrics Nursing (OB), Operating Room Nurse Certification (OR), and Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN).

In an effort to address the hurdles faced by those with such barriers to employment and advancement as limited English language proficiency and academic deficiencies, the Jupiter Medical Center is offering participants additional classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and School at Work/Basic Life Support (SAW/BLS) in collaboration with The Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County and the Catalyst Learning Company, respectively.

The Palm Beach County Healthcare Workforce Initiative program includes employment referrals and placement services for the completers, and is funded to run through July 2011.

Workforce Alliance is the non-profit company chartered by the State of Florida to develop and manage a workforce system in Palm Beach County. It is committed to creating and managing a demand-driven workforce development system in Palm Beach County and to the provision of workforce solutions to drive economic growth in the County. It actively engages the business community to assure that all programs, activities, and initiatives are responsive to the need of job seekers and employers.

SOURCE Workforce Alliance

SOURCE Workforce Alliance
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