Monroe County is spending some of the federal funds it received for COVID-19 response on a program to train workers for essential health and medical positions.
County Executive Adam Bello announced $550,000 in CARES Act funding for Monroe Community College to develop, implement and manage a workforce development partnership called MPower Healthcare.
MPower Healthcare will fund training and education for a minimum of 329 MCC students per year who are enrolled in programs in healthcare, including certified nurse assistant training and development, home health aide programs and pathways to licensed practical nursing.
The program will provide students with the qualifications to become certified in New York and help develop professional skills and career plans. Mpower Healthcare supports case management, career development advising, curriculum development, training and educational space, equipment, instructors, and student tuition, fees, books, and tools. Mpower Healthcare also will link students to prospective employers.
“Healthcare professionals were already a critical need for our region,” Bello said in announcing the program Oct. 2. “The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated that problem.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides financial asssistance to workers, small businesses and municipalities that can use the money to in areas directly affected by COVID-19.
The pandemic underscored the essential nature of frontline healthcare workers such as CNAs, LPNs and home health aides. COVID-19 also showed that communities need to be prepared for public health crises.
MPower Healthcare addresses to major concerns. The program is designed to increase the number of healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory centers, and at-home patients. It also creates employment opportunities by offering training in an increasingly essential industry. Employer partners include the Friendly Home, St. Ann’s, Highlands Living Center, Highlands at Brighton, Monroe Community Hospital, ComForCare, Trusted Home Care and Embrace Home Care.
“MCC’s mission is to transform students’ lives by connecting them to meaningful careers through higher education,” MCC interim president Katherine Douglas said in a news release. “With Monroe County’s support and our collaborations with employers, we’re opening doors of opportunity for individuals seeking careers in the health care field and effectively responding to employers’ workforce demands at this crucial time.”
Todd Oldham, vice president for Economic Development, Workforce and Career Technical Education at MCC, said, “the goal of this program is to on-ramp participants onto a career pathway with a process for continued skill development beyond entry-level occupations, with options to progress to LPN for those who wish to pursue it.”