KRA/Waccamaw Still Strong in Allied Health Care Placements

The October Monthly Spotlight!, published on the 25th, shone “brightly on the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina where, for a tri-county area, KRA Corporation provides workforce development services through the SCWorks Career Centers” Program*.  It was reported that, “this Program has made the career aspirations of hundreds of adults and youth come true.”  In fact, since late 2010, when KRA was selected by the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments to operate the Program, it has been featured more than 50 times…in KRA Company News, Community Involvement News, and Monthly Spotlights…for both customer accomplishments and staff accolades and achievements.

The Spotlight! focused on a young jobseeker’s 4-year journey from a High School Diploma—to a Diploma in Applied Science for Expanded Duty Dental Assisting–to an AA Degree in Applied Science for Dental Hygiene—to State Certification–to her goal: a meaningful and sustainable position as a Dental Assistant.  Read other inspiring Allied Health Care placement stories at: (This link may open in a second window.)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Health Care Initiatives webpage reports that, “The health care industry has grown rapidly and is projected to grow in the future due to advances in medical knowledge and the increased need for medical services required by an aging population. Moreover, the growing complexity of health care delivery, including changing technologies, will require both incumbent workers and new entrants to continuously upgrade their skills. Although job opportunities exist for workers without extensive specialized training, most health care occupations require training leading to a vocational license, certificate, or degree.”

This statement is an outgrowth of DOL’s High Growth Job Training Initiative research confirming that the Health Care industry—and 13 others—has jobs, with solid career paths, that go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. This DOL Initiative continues to drive KRA programs to target education and skills-development programs that prepare jobseekers with the skills they need to build successful careers in business sectors that are stable and expanding.  Not all communities served by KRA have all of the 14 high-growth industries located within their jurisdictions.  However, in the communities that do fit the DOL profile, KRA is at the forefront of providing education and training for our jobseeker-customers to meet the employment needs of our high-growth employer-customers.

Under the leadership of Alisha Williams, Program Manager,  KRA/SCWorks  Career Agents and Business Services Representatives (BSR) have facilitated customers’ career advances in many different types of certified Health Care positions, including Dental Assistants; EKG, Pharmacy, Phlebotomy, and Radiology Technicians; Home Health Care Aides; Licensed Practical Nurses; Nurse’s Aides; Nursing Assistants; Patient Care Coordinators; Registered Nurses; et al.  The following profile is one more representative example of KRA’s placement success in the Health Care field in the Waccamaw Region.

Tammy Russell, 47, and married with three children, enrolled in the Program in April 2012, having been laid off from a Security Guard position after more than 6 years of service.  Gwendolyn Brown, KRA Career Agent, reported, “Tammy described the position as ‘just a job’ that allowed her time to complete her studies for the GED, which she was really excited and proud to receive in 2007.  After WIA Intake and Orientation, during our Career Coaching /Guidance sessions, we discussed her goal—to return to the Health Care field.  She explained that she had worked as  a CNA from 1993-1996, and then left the field to become a fulltime homemaker.  She was able to go back to care giving in 1999, but lost her certification in 2003 due to adverse financial circumstances.   To round out her IEP [Individual Employment Plan], I suggested a few assessment instruments, which she readily agreed to take.”

Brown continued, “Tammy’s Interest Assessment showed significant preferences in Scientific, Protective, Humanitarian and Business Detail, and her three highest Aptitude Assessments were Clerical Perception, Form Perception, and Spatial Aptitude, all of which strongly supported her goal to return to health-care giving.  In addition, her TABE [Test of Adult Basic Education] results in reading and match were very positive.  Since Tammy had been filling in a 10-year employment gap with part-time odd jobs, I felt that she was not prepared for the 2013 employment landscape that she would encounter.  So, through Kenneth Sales, one of our BSRs, we arranged for her to attend work-readiness workshops in Job-Search Assistance, Methods, and Techniques; Job-Application and Resume Preparation; Soft-Skills Development; Maintaining a Positive Attitude; and Interview Preparation.”

With funding through a WIA Individual Training Account, Tammy attended classes at Professional Medical Training Center in Florence, and completed a course of study in Comprehensive Certified Nursing.  Brown concluded, “Tammy received high accolades from the instructor, and successfully met all of the SC State Board certification requirements!  And, on her own, submitted an application for a CNA position with Prince George Healthcare Center in Georgetown, and was hired on July 19, 2013!!  Now that she is back working in her chosen field, I know that she has aspirations of moving up to more advanced positions in the Hearth Care arena. She told me that she is most appreciative of the current opportunity, through WIA, to provide services in an environment that she so thoroughly enjoys.”

*This WIA Program for Adult/Dislocated Workers and In-School/Out-of-School Youth provides comprehensive workforce services for jobseeker-and employer-customers. Adhering to a sector-driven strategy that targets service businesses in high-growth industries, the SCWorks Career Centers provide recruitment, screening, referral, follow-up, and retention services tailored to the needs of private- and public-sector employers in the Region. WIA services include interest, aptitude, and personality assessment; skills upgrading through Occupational Skills Training and/or OJT (On-the-Job Training) opportunities; career coaching, counseling, and guidance; instructional job-search technique workshops; job referral, placement and retention; and referrals to community partnering agencies.  The Youth Services component provides programs for disadvantaged young people facing significant barriers to employment, including intensive career counseling; interest, math, and reading assessment; GED preparation; workplace-readiness classes, including job application/interviewing skills; and job and/or training placement.