Northeast Ohio's three big healthcare systems — Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals — are working with a variety of community partners on a project to train workers quickly for entry-level positions that offer a path to career advancement.
The Workforce Connect Healthcare Sector Partnership (HSP), which is based at Cuyahoga Community College, leans on the training expertise of the nonprofit Towards Employment and also involves Southwest General Health Center and the VA Northeast Ohio.
The partners describe it as "an employer-led collaborative" with three big priorities: developing "clear and actionable career pathways with family-sustaining wages" for Cuyahoga County jobseekers; improving economic opportunity for those jobseekers; and addressing the "critical shortage of entry-level health care talent" for employers.
Among the HSP's first projects is the Healthcare Career On-Ramp training program, which connects Cuyahoga County residents with open positions at the Clinic, MetroHealth and UH. The program pays particular attention to finding trainees in under-resourced communities with high unemployment.
Each cohort of On-Ramp trainees includes 10 to 15 potential employees who go through an eight-day, hybrid virtual/on-site training session. (The goal eventually is to make the training entirely in-person.) Those who successfully complete the training receive a $200 stipend and are guaranteed an interview with at least one of the three large health systems. Trainees who are hired then receive six months of post-hire job coaching with Towards Employment.
Soft skills and professionalism training within On-Ramp covers "health care work culture, customer service, life management, interview skills and professional presentation," according to a program description. It prepares trainees for entry-level positions in areas including environmental services, nutrition services, patient transport, nursing support and more. The On-Ramp program and the work of the HSP are funded with philanthropic dollars, county funding and employer in-kind matches.
The On-Ramp partners aim to hire 100 entry-level, full-time workers by June. It's a modest goal to get the program off on the right foot to support a big and growing Northeast Ohio healthcare sector that, like virtually every industry these days, is challenged to find enough workers in an environment still touched by the pandemic.
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