Pikeville, KY. – On Friday, November 8, Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Secretary, Derrick K. Ramsey, traveled to Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) to announce his involvement with the hospital’s new Employee Outreach Program.
The program is made up of a network of partners, including PMC, Eastern Kentucky Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and Skills U, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Together, they are offering free GED classes though BSCTC. In August, PMC amended its policy requiring a high school diploma or equivalency so that individuals enrolled in the program can work at the hospital while pursuing their GED.
“As the healthcare industry continues to thrive in Kentucky, we must identify career pathways that will equip Kentuckians for long term success by connecting them with the skills, training and education necessary to meet this growing demand. Kentucky is home to thousands of individuals who are without a GED or high school diploma. We are pleased that employers like Pikeville Medical Center recognize that the key to meeting the healthcare demand is through programs that offer adult education and employment,” said Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey.
There are many goals for this new PMC program, the first of which is to provide career ladders, classes, and support for people in the region. Second, the hospital hopes to fill gaps in the health care workforce with people who are educated and trained.
“Pikeville Medical Center is fully committed to the Employee Outreach Program. As the largest employer in the region, we have a tremendous responsibility to the area. There are greater demands being placed on health care than ever before, and we want to be part of creating a pipeline of trained people,” said PMC Board of Directors Vice President and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “It’s not about getting a handout, but a hand up to a better career path. We are proud to partner with Secretary Ramsey on initiatives that give our community members exactly that.”
One way to accomplish this is with job fairs where Skills U representatives attend to answer questions and enroll candidates into the program. To date, PMC has hosted two job fairs resulting in entry level positions being filled at the hospital while employees continue with high school equivalency classes.
“Connecting people to meaningful work and providing them with career opportunities is everyone’s responsibility and is very important to healthy communities. This partnership with PMC and its leadership is aimed at doing just that,” said Executive Director of EKCEP Jeff Whitehead. “EKCEP and the East Kentucky Workforce Investment Board is pleased to be a part of this effort, which I believe will have tremendous value on many levels. The K-Tech program brings a strategic method to not only provide the health care industry with a talent pipeline but it also lights up the pathway for people to have sustainable careers and reach their full potential.”
When the increasing demand for qualified health care professionals is paired with the continued growth of PMC, working at the hospital is a smart decision.