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Building a Better Workforce
The JH Health System receives $3 million for career development


U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao pays a call on pharmacy tech Elliott Ward.

Elliott Ward joined Hopkins as a protective services officer earning $10.38 an hour. Thanks to a career development program offered by Hopkins Hospital, he was able to train as a pharmacy technician even as he continued to draw a paycheck. Today he’s a certified pharmacy tech and earns $12.20. Ward’s long-term career goal? A pharmacist.

Committed to “growing its own” employees, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has created several career advancement programs to help people like Ward move up the career ladder as rapidly as possible. These innovative health care training programs have been remarkably effective, so much so that the federal government has taken note.

On Friday, March 12, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao awarded a $3 million grant to the Johns Hopkins Health System. The grant will provide opportunities for current workers to not only enhance their skills but also obtain training for the health care jobs of the future. Approximately 400 Health System employees will be eligible for the 18-month grant. (Details involving eligibility were not yet available.)

Secretary Chao’s visit to Hopkins kicked off the $24.4 million National Health Care Initiative, an effort to address critical worker shortages facing an industry that is expected to grow at a rate of 28 percent between 2002 and 2012. The program is part of the larger High Growth Job Training Initiative, a strategic effort to better prepare workers to take advantage of new job opportunities in 12 high-growth sectors of the American economy.

Chao also awarded a second $1.5 million grant to the state of Maryland to address the lack of faculty for the health care professions. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele accepted the grant, which will fund scholarships for nurses who pursue credentials to teach at the college and university level.

“We’ll be aggressive in our efforts to stress the value we see in investing in the current workforce and closing the skills gaps,” said Ronald Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital/Health System, accepting the $3 million check. The hope is to build a career development program that could be a model for use throughout the health care industry, Peterson continued. “But most of all, we want to be sure that the people who have joined the Johns Hopkins family are given every opportunity to grow and succeed and to have a truly rewarding, long-term career with us.”

Anne Bennett Swingle

 

 

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