In addition to physicians and nurses on our front lines, jobs in health care – such as medical assistants, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and technicians – are critically important for delivering care.
Across the country, and especially in Maine, employers are struggling to fill health care roles that require some formal education or certification.
Through our system-wide MaineHealth Center for Workforce Development, we are taking an entrepreneurial approach to engaging the New Mainer population of immigrants and refugees, as well as veterans, underemployed individuals, retirees, and pre-retirees to help fill this vital workforce gap.
Creating opportunities for entry-level health care workers
Our Center for Workforce Development was established to:
- provide educational opportunities, resources, and tools to support employees’ skill development and professional growth
- introduce young students to all of the career opportunities that MaineHealth has to offer
- enhance and promote employment opportunities within the communities we serve throughout Maine and western New Hampshire
We offer a variety of career opportunities such as apprenticeships, paid training, tuition reimbursement, language skills, and more. A few examples are certified nursing assistant and medical assistant certification programs, Maine Medical Center School of Surgical Technology, and the NorDX Phlebotomy Schools. Graduates of these programs are prioritized for job openings at MMC, and are provided career ladders for future growth in their profession.
Partnerships with businesses, schools, and agencies in every corner of the state are critical to developing and building pipelines of talent. Some of our partnerships include: Maine Community College System, Maine Department of Labor & Career Center Regional Directors, Coastal Counties Workforce, and many others.
Eliminating barriers for New Mainers
Our partnership with the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center’s iEnglish Project, has helped us create a paid training program specifically for New Mainers within Maine Medical Center’s current workforce. Many of these people have had some college education or a college degree, yet their lack of English language skills holds them back.
Employees currently working in the environmental services, linens, and food service departments have the opportunity to increase their English language skills. Learners are able to complete their coursework on their own time while earning a stipend.
Using VoxyEnGen, an English language learning software educational provider, we have created customized content for the healthcare setting, as well as job-specific language training. In addition to personalized language training for each employee, our program offers services such as continued learning and educational support, and career counseling to help employees identify and articulate their desired pathway for career growth. We also partner with English Second Language Portland Regional Collaborative group to provide care team members with even greater access to community-based language acquisition programs. To date, we have supported more than 70 employees in the program through a blend of career advancement and ongoing English language learning improvement; and we engaged more participating care team members with on-the-job communication.
Through our partnership with Portland Adult Education, we continue to offer a Healthcare Office Patient Customer Service Certificate program. All learners who successfully complete this emerging program are guaranteed an interview for a healthcare office role within MMC/MaineHealth.
Preparing young students for successful health care careers
Healthcare career awareness is an important aspect of the MaineHealth Center for Workforce Development. Our goal is to expose students to all that the healthcare field has to offer, so they will be motivated to fill these essential roles.
One way we are achieving this is through our partnership with Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG). JMG is the only organization in Maine to offer a continuum of support for approximately 10,000 students annually from middle school to high school, and onto post-secondary education and meaningful careers such as those at MaineHealth.
Working with JMG, we introduce students as early as 6th grade to the myriad career opportunities available at MaineHealth, and tailor programs to set them on the right path. Students can overcome academic, financial, and social barriers with JMG’s support, in order to prepare for careers in healthcare after graduation.
By empowering Maine’s next generation of young healthcare leaders—with a toolbox of skills, knowledge, and best practices that they can use throughout their lives—students can achieve self-sufficiency, pursue their aspirations, and attain success. Each JMG student leaves the classroom with pride, direction, and a clearer sense of what they want out of life and how they are going to achieve it.
To support these and other programs which will help us address the current demands for a highly skilled, well-trained workforce, and build accessible training and career channels for the workforce of tomorrow, please contact us today.