With baby boomers reaching retirement age and the population in general needing health care services, the training in this field has to be state of the art. “The time is now for incorporating high technology in the classroom, growing medicinal herbs, and learning how to mentor and guide youth into a field that needs their passion and skills, “ said Aretha Meggett, Nurse Assistant Instructor at the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center and committee chair of the Symposium. October being health awareness month, the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center hosted the second annual Health Care Symposium for the Philadelphia Region’s Job Corps. Health care professionals and providers from FL, AL, VA, IL, and the U.S. Department of Labor joined the twenty centers in the region to discuss the Health Occupations Career Cluster training program.
The three day event, held at the Sheraton Station Square, was divided into a Focus on Training; Going Green: The New Way to Be; and Strategies for Recruitment and Placement. Joe Garrett, Career Systems Development Corporation, the company that manages the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center, welcomed the group of 57 participants and Marcia Hampton, the Division Chief from the Department of Labor’s Philadelphia Regional Office introduced the Symposium and provided an overview.
“All presenters were experts in their field”, said Mark Douglas, Center Director for the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center. “The sessions were informative and enlightening.”
Presenter, Angie Cox from Promethean World, displayed the smart promethean boards as interactive training modules and had the audience engaged in an activity; Shara Delbrugge from Care Tracker Systems showcased electronic charting; Craig Sudbury, VP of Management and Training Corporation, and Gerry McGroarty, Career Technical Training Manager at Keystone Job Corps, extolled the benefits of developing cohorts for all trainees which emphasizes team work and helps support each other in the training; Dee Hall, Muhlenberg Job Corps, James Whitmire, Philadelphia Job Corps, and James Albright, Pittsburgh Job Corps described the Health Foundations course, where students learn terminology and a perspective of expectations in the field. Identifying pre-assessment strategies was the topic for Suzan Widener from Blue Ridge Job Corps along with Debra Herring and Gerry McGroarty from Keystone and James Whitmire from Philadelphia Job Corps.
The goal of any Job Corps is to provide a qualified, professionally trained workforce; one where employees are actively engaged in their own education and prepared to meet every day challenges. In addition, there is an encouragement toward life long learning and advancement in the field through selecting and following a career pathway.
When it comes to Greening Health Care, Allison Robinson, UPMC, is the authority on green sustainability initiatives; William Siff from Goldthread Herbal Apothecary shared his vision of moving farming into pharmacy; John Shea from Penn State University spoke about starting a greenhouse on centers such as the one on the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center; George Frantz from the Office of EPA spoke about the Green Initiatives in Boston and what could be incorporated elsewhere. Judith Savolskis the Interim V.P. at CCAC West Hills Center talked about the careers in trades with opportunities for greening. Mark Lawecki, Green Training Coordinator at Pittsburgh Job Corps enlightened the audience concerning bio diesel fuel production, composting and smart energy usage.
Communication with prospective trainees and employers as well as understanding the program falls into the hands of Mark Snyder, PA Outreach and Admissions, and Shay Khayat from KY Career Transitions Services. Going the extra mile for preparing the next workforce, Colleen Fedor, Mentoring Partnerships of Southwestern PA, stressed the importance of a reality check with students while lending a helping hand to bring them through their uncharted territory. Craig Dotson U.S. Department of Labor discussed registered apprenticeships in Health Care careers; Gerry McGroarty discussed home-based work based learning; and Katie Hill from McNeely, Pigott and Fox distributed the new marketing materials developed by her firm for Health Care Career Technical Training.
All trainees are preparing for jobs and Shay Khayat, and Brenda Sierra, MD Career Transition Services, went over some placement strategies.
Bill Peebles, a Program Manager from the Department of Labor explained that “Health Occupations training is changing to meet the high technology advances in the field and this type of symposium is valuable for all the right reasons.” Agnes Rucker from Old Dominion Job Corps said that “the event was awesome, very informative, and I particularly liked the open forum for idea sharing.” Rick Scott from Montgomery AL said that he used the Foundation course about five years ago and will now bring it back. “It provides a good start for students; gives them an opportunity to explore the field without committing too deep into the training, is a good concept, and has a lot of value”.