Harrisburg University Taps Skills Training Platform to Expand Access to Healthcare Careers

Harrisburg University today announced the launch of an ambitious initiative designed to create new pathways to in-demand healthcare careers for workers and job-seekers across the state. Designed in partnership with SCPa Works and offered through the pioneering skills training provider Penn Foster, the new program will equip students with the skills to succeed in allied health careers as demand for healthcare workers accelerates throughout the region.

“As the economic downturn caused by the pandemic continues, it will take fresh thinking and new ideas to help individuals across the state get back to work,” said Geoffrey M. Roche, Executive Director, Strategic Healthcare Initiatives and Partnerships, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. “We’re bringing together leading-edge technology and career-aligned training to not only help the region’s employers close critical talent gaps, but also accelerate economic mobility for Pennsylvania workers.”

Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, allied health jobs were among the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These positions also recovered more quickly than nearly any other sector, creating renewed urgency for healthcare providers to recruit, hire, and retrain skilled workers as demand continues to increase. Labor market shifts throughout South Central Pennsylvania have expanded healthcare skill gaps even further, with major employers now seeking tens of thousands of workers amidst an ongoing public health crisis.

“Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the region’s labor market, but existing training programs have not historically been able to meet employer demand,” said Jesse McCree, CEO SCPa Works. “As the regional workforce development board, we are excited to support training programs that are showing significant impact for our communities. Public-private partnerships like this one can expand access to career opportunity at a time when the need for new solutions has never been greater.”

Designed to create onramps to healthcare careers for graduating high school seniors, current college students, and working learners, the fully online programs are rooted in a pedagogical model that prioritizes practical and career-oriented learning. Through courses in fields including Pharmacy Technician, Pharmacy Assistant and Medical Assistant, participants will be able to access affordable certificate programs that can prepare them for a new career.

“The healthcare talent gap in Harrisburg is reflective of pervasive labor market challenges faced by regions across the country — which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dara Warn, Chief Customer Officer. “By joining forces with local education providers and public workforce agencies, we’re building a coalition that can bring deep insight and coordinated strategy to bear on transforming regional economies for the better.”