New workforce development program sees success early with 96 participants, 33 graduates

Area Heath Education Center, CSN, SNMIC team up for training program

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition (SNMIC) partnered with the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) and the Area Health Education Center of Southern Nevada (AHEC) to launch the Southern Nevada Healthcare Industry Education, Training and Employment Project in 2009.

Since its launch, the program has grown to encompass 96 current participants and has already graduated 33 people total from its EMT, Certified Nursing Assistant and Health Unit Coordinator programs.

The program combines the workforce development experience, educational and employment resources of the three partnered organizations to provide entry-level health career training for the program’s clients. In addition to the programs already in place, a new medical billing/coding curriculum was added for the Spring 2010 semester.

“I’ve been in the health care industry for 10 years, but this is the first time I’ve seen a health unit coordinator program offered in the state of Nevada,” said Mia Burkhalter, who graduated from the program in November 2009. “I loved the program and learned so many new things that I never would have learned otherwise.”

Burkhalter completed the Health Unit Coordinator program Nov. 25 and is actively looking for employment. She is currently studying to receive her health unit coordinator certification which has become a requirement for an increasing number of health care institutions.

“I’ve gone through the program and I have the training so I know I can run a hospital floor, but now I need to pass the test to have the card that proves I’m able to do it,” she added.

Ninety-eight percent of the students who are in or have gone through the program were unemployed, and the few who had jobs were underemployed or in transitional positions that did not allow them to earn a sustainable living wage.

“A majority of the students enrolled in the program previously worked in some of our hardest hit industries in Las Vegas including real-estate, finance, insurance, gaming, construction management and construction trades and more,” said Doug Geinzer, chairman of SNMIC. “It’s our mission to provide them with the skills and training they need to transition to the health care industry.”

Of the program’s 33 graduates, 25 percent have found employment in their specialized areas thus far.

The program targets clients that include adult, dislocated workers as well as unemployed and underemployed persons, recipients of public assistance, low-income individuals, seniors, veterans and disabled. The program focuses on the healthcare industry because of the shortages of entry level and advanced healthcare workers combined with the high unemployment rate in Southern Nevada.

AHEC provides programmatic and fiscal management, case management and job development services for the project.

CSN offers three programs to individuals in the Workforce Development Program including training for emergency medical technicians, certified nursing assistants and health unit coordinators. The medical billing/coding program is offered at New Horizon and Fast Trax.

SNMIC’s involvement includes conducting outreach and marketing for the program.

Workforce Connection, formerly known as the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board, awarded a $1.1 million contract to AHEC, which has partnered with SNMIC and CSN for the project. 

For more information on the Southern Nevada Healthcare Industry Education, Training and Employment Project, visit www.snahec.org or www.snmic.com.

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