Health Careers Partnership Wins National Award, Expands Relationships with Local Care Providers

Health Careers Partnership earns Minneapolis Community and Technical College the Bellwhether Award.

From left: Jane Foote, Academic Dean Nursing Program, MCTC; Dr. Josephine Reede-Taylor, Sr. Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, MCTC; Dr. H. James Owen, National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges

June 2005—On the heels of winning a national educational award for workforce development, the Health Careers Partnership has spent 2005 expanding its programs that connect aspirant healthcare workers with employers.

In January, Minneapolis Community and Technical College won the prestigious Bellwether Award in the category of workforce development. MCTC provides curriculum and instruction for the HCP. Considered the Heisman Trophy of community college education, the Bellwether Award recognizes cutting-edge, trendsetting programs nationally.

Organized in 2001 by the Phillips Partnership to fill employment gaps in at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center, the HCP has grown into one of the largest and most successful hospital-based workforce development programs in the United States. More than 1,000 students have participated in the program. Thus far in 2005, 17 existing hospital employees have been sponsored to prepare for nursing and other health careers.

Initially focused on training unskilled workers in the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone for entry-level healthcare jobs, the initiative now includes a variety of accredited continuing education programs helping employees advance along career ladders. Its curriculum varies based on closely tracked market demand in the Twin Cities metro.

Jane Foote of MCTC says new offerings put the responsiveness of the HCP model into finer focus, addressing a range of hiring needs.

One new program, dubbed “Paving a Way,” has enrolled 20 HCMC employees since 2004 to ladder from an MCTC associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree in nursing with Metro State University. The BSN degree is the gateway to management, says Foote, adding that current enrollees in Paving the Way range in experience from non-nursing support employees to one LPN.

A second new program planned for later this year will groom HCP alumni for health care management, says Cindy Bloom of Project for Pride in Living, the Minneapolis nonprofit that administers the HCP. “Career Climber” will prepare former Health Careers Partnership graduates now working at Abbott Northwestern Hospital for stafflevel leadership positions. As many as 12 students will compose the first cohort, says Bloom.

PPL also has undertaken a new contract with the Minneapolis Employment Job Training Program to broker between area healthcare providers and educational institutions. This effort, says Bloom, will also expand the employment opportunities for graduates of the HCP’s core training programs. Bloom describes the broker role as working with healthcare providers to identify both shortand long-term staffing needs, then leveraging HCP’s existing training model to improve the pipeline between providers and the potential labor pool. She said the scope could grow to include providers and schools throughout Minneapolis  and the surrounding area.