Friday, January 18News That Matters

GRCC recruiting more minorities for health care fields – MLive.com


GRAND RAPIDS, MI –Grand Rapids Community College has funding to train 60 people for an initiative to help increase the diversity of the health care workforce, according to Julie Parks, executive director of GRCC Workforce Training.

The new students would take courses in in-demand fields: medical assistant, phlebotomist, and certified nursing assistant (CNA). Course fees will be discounted because a recent grant to grow the pool of minorities.

GRCC is already among seven local colleges and universities that announced in June a partnership with the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) to work on reducing barriers to minority students seeking educational opportunities.

Colleges, nonprofit work to increase diversity in health care workforce

With the increasing diversity of the population, there has been a national, state, and regional effort to recruit more minorities to health care because racial and ethnic groups are underrepresented in public health professions.

“I think this opportunity to train more workers is great for our community and allows GRCC to build partnerships to help address the demands,’’ Parks said.

Since 2014, JPMorgan Chase Foundation has invested $265,000 in GRCC in job training, including industrial sewing, logistics programs, and health care. Funds have also supported a Health Care Scrubs Camp for teens launched last year to increase interest in health-related fields.

In addition to connecting more minorities to health care jobs, a portion of the new $100,000 grant will continue to support the camp.

Last year, 36 students from Grand Rapids Public Schools and youth from community organizations participated. Camp participants receive mentoring from minority leaders in the healthcare field, learn in simulation labs at GRCC and Grand Valley State University, tour area medical facilities, and work with career coaches and navigators.

“A big part of this work is career exploration, giving students hands-on, up-close looks at careers so they can be inspired and prepare for their future,” Parks said.

GRCC will conduct community outreach sessions with neighborhood and nonprofit groups to inform unemployed and underemployed adults about the new training opportunity to earn certificates in the three health programs.

Parks said the college has been very successful with previous JPMorgan Chase grants. She said 93 percent of those in training were placed in jobs.

The discounted rates for the training programs vary. Those interested in one of three programs can come to GRCC’s M-TEC and meet with a career coach to determine grant eligibility and cost.

David Murray, communications director for GRCC, emphasized the college also has other grants an individual could qualify for program assistance.

For example, GRCC was awarded a $6 million federal grant in 2016 that has allowed the college to work with its community partners to provide a pipeline of much-needed skilled health care workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded more than $111 million to 23 regional partnerships in 28 states through the America’s Promise competition.

GRCC awarded $6M to help build healthcare workforce pipeline

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