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Dome - REACH for Job Advancement

Dome March 2014

REACH for Job Advancement

Date: March 1, 2014

Project REACH info
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Grateful for landing a job, Taheesha Robinson joined The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2004 as an environmental services technician. But she dreamed of one day working in patient care. That day came sooner than she expected, thanks to a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored program launched during the same year. Called Project REACH (Resources and Education for the Advancement of Careers at Hopkins), its goal is to improve job skills and opportunities for existing workers.

With her manager’s blessing, Robinson worked three days a week and spent the other two days training to become a patient service coordinator. “It took a year and was tough at times while raising four young children and doing homework,” she says, “but well worth the effort. I was determined to succeed.” A year later, she landed a job in outpatient radiology as a patient service coordinator and has worked in patient care ever since, currently as a patient access specialist at Johns Hopkins at Keswick.

Now funded entirely through the health system, Project REACH has helped more than 1,800 employees and remains dedicated to improving employees’ workforce development. Johns Hopkins HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center employees are also eligible for the program.

“We help change people’s lives by providing skills training, giving employees a leg up in their careers and helping them earn more money to support their families,” says Yariela Kerr-Donovan, director of Project REACH/community education programs. Employees can train to become pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists and medical technologists, among other specialized jobs.

For Robinson, the payoff was more than emotionally rewarding. With rave reviews from her previous patient service coordinator manager, Robinson received two raises just one year into her new job. And she no longer works on holidays or weekends. “I’m so grateful to all the people at Project REACH who went out of their way to meet with me and for the support of my managers over the years.” The program, she says, “helps people who want to help themselves.”

—Judy F. Minkove


Project REACH FAQs

Who can take part?

Employees who show an interest in and ability for advancing their skills and who are not under disciplinary review. Some employees, whose jobs may have been replaced or changed by technology, are also invited to participate.

What jobs could I train for?

Surgical technicians, radiology technicians, pharmacy technicians, radiation therapists, respiratory therapists, medical laboratory technicians and nursing positions.

What steps do I need to take?

Complete an application and a supervisor recommendation  form. The program consists of assessment, job coaching and  job-readiness classes or training. For details and more FAQs,  visit or 443-997-4585.