KRA Collaborative Program Graduates’ Career Plans on Hold Due to COVID-19
On January 9, KRA Latest News reported on an innovative 3-partner collaboration to benefit recipients of TANF and SNAP benefits in Prince George’s County, Maryland, through PGWorks, operated by KRA for the Department of Social Services. On February 28, we provided a follow-up article on the incredible success of the collaborative pilot program in our KRA Monthly Spotlight!
One month later, the COVID-19 pandemic would lead Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to announce, “he doubts the state will be able to loosen its coronavirus restrictions in the next two weeks.” He continued, “…we don’t see any way that we’re going to be opening back up in a couple of weeks. In the Washington metropolitan area [the number of cases] has quadrupled in the past week, and we see that continuing to grow exponentially.”
As of Sunday, March 29, the Metro area Departments of Health reported a total of 2,471 COVID-19 cases: Maryland, 1,239; Virginia, 890; and DC, 342.
Before the pandemic hit, the CMAA program’s success had led to the scheduling of a Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) training program for the graduates, and a cohort program for a second group of CMAA students.
Melody Daniel, KRA Program Manager, reports, “Our 10 graduates were scheduled to transition to the CBCS program in March, provided they had passed the national CMAA licensing exam. However, only five had the chance to take the test, which they passed, with the other five now postponed until sometime between April and June. Also, both the first CBCS training program, as well as the second CMAA program, have been postponed at least until May or June.
Needless to say, our staff and students are extremely disappointed with the delays, but are focusing now on keeping ourselves and our families healthy and well during this unprecedented global crisis.” Equally disappointing is that Ms. Daniel was scheduled to co-present details of the pilot’s success through a workshop, Blended Learning for Job Seekers with Barriers to Employment, at the March NAWB Forum and the May NAWDP National Conference, both of which were cancelled.