For those who haven’t heard about Career Launch yet, it’s a program designed to assist our entry-level employees and members of the local community in developing health care careers and increasing their earning potential, while filling the hospital’s hiring needs. We are partnering with area colleges to provide a mix of classroom learning, hands-on practicums and externships in the hospital. This will culminate in an associate degree and a chance to move into higher-level clinical career positions. In addition to tuition reimbursement, we’re also providing additional incentives to help participants overcome any barriers to pursuing their degrees, such as assistance with childcare, transportation and supply costs.
When we initially launched the program, we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew there was a need for expanding our pipeline and a desire for increased tuition reimbursement, but we didn’t know how many people would make the commitment to join the program. 34 people who are now a part of Career Launch and working on degrees for one of our hard-to-fill roles including medical assistants, EEG technicians, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and sterile processing technicians.
Our program participants are affiliated with several educational institutions in Ohio and we’re excited that the expansion includes several schools in the Mahoning Valley area.
Donor Support is an Important Component
Denise and Norm Wells have been supporters of Akron Children’s Hospital for many years and the Career Launch program offered a unique way to support the hospital.
“We recognized right away that this was a program that could change lives for so many people and we wanted to do what we could to support it,” Denise Wells said.
The Wells’ donation will support two new Career Launch participants this summer.
“The Career Launch Initiative provides current Akron Children’s employees a path to career advancement through tuition, child care and transportation support,” the Wells said. “By removing some of those traditional barriers to educational advancement we hope to not only make life better for employees but give the hospital the resources it needs to continue to provide world-class care to children.”
The Wells continued that they’re looking forward to seeing how Career Launch grows and thrives in the coming months. They’re already pleased the program has so many successes to celebrate and an exciting future to build on that success.
What We’ve Learned
As we’ve gone through the process of vetting and onboarding the first round of program participants, it’s been interesting and exciting to see the types of people applying. To date it’s been a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds. Many are entry-level. Some are current employees who are looking for a job or career change. And some are people who already have bachelor’s degrees and work in nonclinical areas but have always been interested in the clinical side and unsure how to make that transition. Now they’re getting the education and the support they need to make that transition.
Erica Tate, now on the LPN track, says of the program, “I wanted to go back to school but could not afford it. College tuition has gone up so much that a lot of people like me are bankrupt from college debt. Career Launch is now giving me the opportunity to increase my income for my family. It’s an amazing program.”
Because Career Launch has been so successful thus far, we’re already making plans to expand it to include additional positions. One new position we’re excited to add to the program is cybersecurity because there is such a huge demand for cybersecurity professionals right now.
Right now, financial resources limit the size and impact of the program. To address the intention to grow the Career Launch program the hospital is asking our donors to be a source of funding and join Denise and Norm Wells in helping to create greater opportunities in our community.