Agreement to Increase Educational Opportunities in Health Care - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Agreement to Increase Educational Opportunities in Health Care

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The presidents from the University of Virginia Medical Center, Piedmont Virginia Community College, and Martha Jefferson Hospital have signed an agreement that will increase educational opportunities in health care and will help fill positions in the future.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by all three presidents Friday morning, will provide joint funding from UVA Medical Center and MJH for two new certificate programs at PVCC. The programs will train new pharmacy and central sterile processing technicians. In addition to funding, UVA and MJH will provide clinical training for students in the program.

Kathy Hudson, PVCC’s health and life sciences dean, says the program allows them to offer classes that provide real-life job skills for the students enrolled.

"We create new health science programs based on either current or projected need from the hospitals, and so the benefit for our students is that there are going to be jobs waiting for them when they finish,” Hudson said.

UVA Medical Center CEO Ed Howell says the programs represent an investment into their future. They foresee the need for trained people in these specialized fields, and hope to draw new, capable employees from the surrounding Charlottesville and Albemarle County community.

"We're going to need a health care workforce for the next 25 to 30 years. Making the investment now, creating the skill sets, giving people opportunities for the education and for jobs going forward, it's a real, I think, it's a unique collaboration for the community,” said Howell.

Martha Jefferson CEO Jim Haden says, in the end, the community reaps the benefits.

"The jobs stay here, the training stays here, and I think it's a win-win situation for everyone,” Haden said.

Leaders at PVCC say they will start working on developing the new curriculum over the summer. They expect the pharmacy technician certification program to be available starting in January, and the processing technician certification program to follow next summer.

Piedmont Virginia Community College Press Release

Charlottesville, Va. – High school graduates and GED completers will have new opportunities to train for entry-level jobs in the region’s health-care industry as a result of an expanded collaboration between Piedmont Virginia Community College, Martha Jefferson Hospital and the University of Virginia Health System.

In an agreement signed today, the three entities are partnering to offer two new fast-track certificates, one for Pharmacy Technician and the other for Central Sterile Processing Technician. The programs are being developed because there is a shortage of people trained in these fields. Processing techs sterilize, package and prepare instruments used in surgical procedures. Pharmacy techs are supervised by a pharmacist to assemble and supply medicines in hospital or retail pharmacies.

Under the agreement, Martha Jefferson and UVA will provide clinical experiences for the students and pay the salaries and benefits for two new credentialed PVCC faculty to teach the programs. PVCC will employ the faculty, develop the program curriculum in collaboration with both hospitals and provide program oversight.

Curriculum development will begin in coming months, and PVCC hopes to launch the pharmacy tech certificate in January and the processing tech program next summer. High school graduates and GED completers have the needed background to enter the programs, which can be completed in one or two semesters of study. Financial aid for qualifying students will be available. Both hospitals plan to hire qualified graduates of the programs. Current starting salaries are $17-$18/hourly for trained pharmacy techs and $11-$12/hourly for central processing techs. Graduates of either program can also become nationally certified.

“The UVA Health System is pleased to join forces with Piedmont Virginia Community College and Martha Jefferson Hospital in expanding opportunities in the community and the region for individuals to join the health-care workforce,” commented R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of the UVA Medical Center.

Jim Haden, president of Martha Jefferson Hospital, added, “Being able to form partnerships in our community like this one benefits both the individuals interested in entering these fields, as well as all of the organizations involved. It truly is a great way to continue to train and be able to recruit for positions that are in high-demand in our hospitals.”

The College and the region’s two largest hospitals have a long-standing relationship of creating career opportunities for area residents while meeting the critical needs for a well-trained workforce.

“Over the years, all of the health-care programs of study at PVCC – from surgical technology to nursing, EMS, radiography, sonography and others – came to fruition through this strong alliance,” PVCC President Frank Friedman explained.

“The hospitals express a need for skilled, qualified employees, and PVCC as the region’s community college is uniquely able to respond by providing the training programs. The outcome is a win-win for all involved because hundreds of individuals in Central Virginia obtain jobs in the health-care sector, citizens receive the quality care they need and the hospitals have the highly skilled employees necessary to deliver those services.”

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