Friday, July 31, 2009

The Classes Are Full, The Wait List is Long, yet Budget Proposals Cut this Successful Program

It’s not too often that business owners, workers, educational leaders, and respected advocates can join together on behalf of an inexpensive program that benefits everyone, but that is what happens every day through the Industry Partnership program. Industry Partnerships bring together employer consortiums that promote opportunities to improve and expand the workforce, something that is particularly important during a recession.

PathWays PA convenes the Delaware County Healthcare Partnership, comprised of employers, educators and workforce development entities dedicated to working with low-wage healthcare workers to develop career paths and increase their earnings while improving the competitive position of healthcare providers. The Partnership’s multi-faceted training approach raises workers’ skills and credentials to meet employers’ needs while creating opportunities for low-wage healthcare workers to learn the tools necessary to advance in their earnings and careers.

In the past year, this Industry Partnership has trained more than 550 workers. Of these individuals:
  • Over 250 took the Math/English Preparation course to prepare for the Nursing Entrance Exam;
  • 191 were connected to college-credit skills classes at Delaware County Community College;
  • More than 70 workers and supervisors completed Workplace Communications and other skills classes to improve effectiveness and workplace productivity;
  • 42 participated in site-based Workplace English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

This program remains in high demand in Delaware County, but could disappear without state funding.

  • 143 individuals are currently on the waiting list to participate in our Math/English classes.
At least two nursing schools in the Delaware County region require students who did not pass the test on their first try to participate in the Math/English course before taking the exam.

Currently, the capacity of our training programs is unable to meet the large demand, forcing many students to delay their plans to pursue an education until they are able to gain entrance into the class.
  • A fourth Delaware County healthcare employer, which employs over 500 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and trains more than 550 new CNAs each year, has requested to take part in the Workplace ESL classes.
Despite the importance, effectiveness, and obvious need for the Industry Partnerships, some budget proposals eliminate this program. Cutting this program will not help Pennsylvania get out of this recession - it will only hurt workers and employers.

Please call your legislators now and ask them to support the Industry Partnership program and related training activities. Talking points are available from Workforce PA, as is a sample letter to send to legislators (please email wib@papartners.org with any legislators you contact as well).

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