The UPMC apprenticeship helps connect people with health care jobs

The UPMC apprenticeship helps connect people with health care jobs

Connecting people to careers: That’s the mission behind a collaborative apprenticeship initiative.

The lack of health care workers has been a major challenge in the past few years. At one point, UPMC said they had about 14,000 vacancies throughout the health care system.

A new program hopes to help solve that.

On Tuesday, Markisha Jones shared her personal story inside the UPMC Health Plan Neighborhood Center. He was already an employee there, but his life was different in 2019.

“I was unemployed for three years before I joined Freedom House, and then, when I joined Freedom House, I found out that I was pregnant, so I had a small child, and was newly pregnant; how can I go to school?” Jones said.

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But Jones did. He is one of 100 graduates from the program that recruits and trains emergency responders.

Because of its success, the new initiative, called 4Healthcare, was announced on Tuesday.

“There are people who are willing and able to work but don’t have the confidence, don’t have the experience that they need to enter our traditional channels for education to participate in the field of health care in general,” said Dan Swayze, the vice president of community services for UPMC Health Plan.

UPMC and UPMC Health Plan have joined forces with Partner4Work to make this innovative program a reality. The model helps connect people with in-demand careers through paid apprenticeships.

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“We have to be more creative in how we reach them, recruit them, engage them and support them as they go through the training they need,” Swayze said.

“This announcement is about ensuring that homegrown talent has the opportunity and support to start and advance career paths for quality jobs,” said Partner4Work CEO Rob Cherry.

Looking at the bigger picture, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said there are about two jobs available for every job seeker.

“My message to the youth is whatever your talents are, there is a job for you. There is an opportunity out there for you, and Partner4Work is now the glue to connect people who need those jobs and the companies or organizations that need the workers,” Fitzgerald said.

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Jones is the prime example.

“I really don’t know where I would be without the program helping me and pointing me in directions to talk to people, to get interviews, to increase my confidence to get back into the workforce,” Jones said.

Over the next three years, Partner4Work will invest $1.2 million to connect hundreds of people with health care careers.