El Rio Community Health Center Awarded grant to help entry level workers and veterans | Health
El Rio Community Health Center was the recent recipient of grant money to help train new employees, joining groups from New York, Nebraska, Colorado and South Carolina.
They received the grant from the RCHN Community Health Foundation, for recruiting, training and retaining health center workers like medical assistants, receptionists, care managers, and health system navigators.
The El Rio Community Health Center serves over 76,000 patients at 17 sites, and is one of only five federally qualified community health centers (CHCs) around the country to receive a RCHN CHF worker training grant this year. In partnership with Pima Community College, El Rio will use the nearly $200,000 grant to develop a health care career training program geared at the entry-level workforce, veterans and at-risk unemployed individuals.
“We are thrilled to receive this award that will help us to increase the number of skilled health care workers and possibly help veterans at the same time,” said Kathy Byrne, El Rio’s Executive Director, in a recent news release. “This project is a win-win for entry-level workers interested in health care careers, for our ability to hire properly trained workers, and for our community to receive quality health care.”
El Rio’s new training program will focus on preparing new and current entry-level employees for successful careers in community health. They will do this by providing internships, mentoring, and skills development; by doing this El Rio hopes to position unemployed workers for future employment and increase the pipeline of skilled health care workers. The program will also help to retain current entry-level community health center employees by offering health information technology (HIT) certification, Medical Assistant training, and community health advisor certification.
CHCs such as El Rio are located in underserved communities where there are challenges to recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce often including a limited labor pool, lack of vocational training, and language and cultural barriers. Yet, a majority of the nation relies on community health centers to provide care to more than 22 million people each year, and that number is expected to increase dramatically when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect in 2014.
“Our ability to meet a greater demand for health care falls squarely on our system’s ability to increase capacity,” said Julio Bellber, President and CEO of RCHN CHF, in the same release. “That means we must prepare our nation’s 1,200 community health centers to recruit, train, and retain workers who can meet increased patient care needs.”
RCHN CHF awarded $1 million in worker training grants to five health centers in 2012, and then granted an additional million to five more centers in 2013.
In addition to El Rio, the 2013 RCHN CHF workforce initiative grant recipients are:
- CareSouth Carolina, Hartsville, South Carolina - $199,308
- Finger Lakes Community Health, Penn Yan, New York - $200,000
- OneWorld Community Health Centers , Omaha, Nebraska - $189,343
- Salud Family Health Centers, Fort Lupton, Colorado - $200,000