WDB Announces Grant Award to Address Rural Healthcare Workforce Shortages in New York

The Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Herkimer, Madison & Oneida Counties, Inc., was recently awarded a U.S. Department of Labor grant of $2,500,000 to address rural healthcare workforce shortages in Central and Northern New York State.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for healthcare workers, particularly in rural areas where there was already an acute need.” the U.S. Department of Labor says. “Through the expansion of employment and training models for the healthcare industry, DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) aims to help individuals gain the skills necessary to provide needed services, fill vacancies, and allow employers to find skilled workers more readily.”

The grant aims to increase the number of individuals training in healthcare occupations that directly impact patient care and alleviate healthcare workforce shortages by creating sustainable employment and training programs in healthcare occupations serving rural populations. Targeted occupations include: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors; Mental Health Counselors; Rehabilitation Counselors; Healthcare Social Workers; Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Workers; Registered Nurses; Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technologists; Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technicians; Pharmacy Technicians; Licensed Practical Nurses; Home Health Aides; Occupational Therapy Assistants; Physical Therapy Assistants; Phlebotomists.

The WDB will incorporate new and emergent technologies, such as interactive simulations, personalized and virtual instruction, educational gaming, or digital tutors, into the educational component of their training design. The individuals served will receive online training in a wide range of subject areas resulting in credentials, from micro-credentials to degrees, based on needs, abilities. and experience to place trainees in jobs where they can advance along career ladders. Outreach campaigns will attract new talent to the sector, and a coalition of partners will ensure placement and support to complete training.

As part of this initiative, the WDB’s REACH (Regional Entry & Advancement in Careers in Health) aims to serve some 600 unemployed and underemployed residents across 16 counties, including Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Chenango, Delaware, Jefferson, Lewis, Otsego, Warren, Washington, Essex, St. Lawrence, Hamilton, Franklin, Fulton and Montgomery.

Placement Coordinator Karen Cossaboon is a hospital clinical manager and public health outreach practitioner with more than 30 years’ experience in public health project management. Karen (nickname, Kare) completed a Master’s degree in Health Sciences (MHS), from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg Graduate School of Public Health. She will cover Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence and Hamilton counties. Individuals living in these counties who are interested in participating in this program can call Karen at: 610-533-6300.

Placement Coordinator Joelle Taylor, most recently of Congressman Anthony Brindisi’s office, has spent more than 30 years in program development and oversight. Among other noteworthy positions, she previously served as the Executive Director of the Rome Memorial Hospital Foundation, Project Director of the Rome City Schools Safe Schools Healthy Students Initiative grant, and Senior Coordinator of Literacy Programs at BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education. A sought-after consultant in nonprofit management and a skilled public speaker, presenter and facilitator, she additionally is a graduate of Colgate University and earned a Master of Management Studies degree from SUNY Binghamton School of Management. Joelle will cover Herkimer, Madison & Oneida counties along with Chenango, Delaware & Otsego counties. Individuals living in these counties can reach her at 315-207-6951.

Individuals interested in participating in this program living in Warren, Washington, Fulton, Jefferson, Lewis, or Montgomery counties should contact WDB Executive Director Alice Savino: 315-207-6951.