With the cooperation of partners in government and education, HHC is developing training programs that not only combat the looming nursing shortage, but also fight poverty among the working poor by preparing workers for well-paid career paths.
The HHC Nurse Career Ladder initiative, a collaboration with the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, the NYC Office of Adult and Continuing Education and Long Island University School of Nursing, is a $10 million dollar program that will provide scholarships over four years for 400 low income New Yorkers to be trained as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Registered Nurses (RN). Graduates will be assured of good-paying jobs, since HHC will automatically hire anyone who successfully completes the program. One-third of the trainees will be HHC employees and the remaining two-thirds will be low-income wages earners who earn less the 130% of the federal poverty level - less the $27,000 for a family of four.
Another program announced in early October will utilize funding from the NYC Small Business Services agency, as part of a larger $4.2 million program to train workers for hard-to-fill jobs in a variety of businesses. HHC will receive $300,000 of these funds to train 30 employees for careers as LPNs. The program fills a great need, since employees could not forgo their salaries during the training period and will receive full pay while learning the new skill. Another $858,000 from the NYS Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Labor will pay the salaries of other employees hired to replace the trainees.
HHC employees are ideal candidates for these training opportunities.
"This is a unique opportunity for someone like me," says Damien Achong, a Clerical Associate in the Payroll Department at Kings County Hospital, who is being trained to become an LPN. "I want to help people and I want to move up and this is certainly the right opportunity to do both. In nursing I will deal with many different situations that will help me increase my skills and give me experience with people."
As an additional community benefit, over $7 million will be spent to build a new nursing school at Kings County Hospital for the RN training program. Facilities for the LPN program at Coler-Goldwater have already been renovated.
New Yorkers who want to know more about the nursing scholarship program can call 212-442-3768 for more information about how to apply.