(Akron, Ohio) – Akron Children’s Hospital and Stark State College are partnering on a workforce development program to provide entry-level hospital employees ─ and community members interested in pursuing careers at Children’s ─ with educational opportunities that will help them develop clinical careers in several high-demand fields, while also increasing their earning potential.
Through this special partnership, Akron Children’s will cover the cost of pursuing a degree in key career tracks at Stark State and will work to remove barriers to completing education programs.
Recruiting is underway for the new Career Launch program that will put entry-level hospital staff and community members into a variety of clinical roles after completing courses through Stark State.
“We are working with Stark State to support employees interested in careers in several key areas, including medical assistants, respiratory therapists, EEG technicians and licensed practical nurses,” said Rhonda Larimore, chief human resources officer for Akron Children’s. “These are positions in great demand, and we want to provide the incentives – and remove the barriers – to help entry-level employees and community members move on to higher-level clinical careers.”
Larimore emphasized that the hospital is also committed to finding ways to help program participants overcome common barriers to pursuing post-secondary education, perhaps by offering assistance with transportation, childcare, and educational materials.
“Working at Akron Children’s is more than a job,” she said. “It is about our mission of caring for our patients and their families. Our employees demonstrate that daily in their dedication to our mission. That’s why helping them advance their career path here is a priority for us.”
“Stark State College is proud to partner with Akron Children’s Hospital on the innovative Career Launch program,” said Para M. Jones, Ph.D., president of Stark State College. “In our experience, employer-driven educational programs like Career Launch are the most effective way to attract, develop and retain excellent employees in high-demand fields, such as health care. Akron Children’s investment in developing its workforce benefits patients, employees, the community and region.”
Career Launch participants will receive a mix of classroom learning and hands-on practicums, culminating in an associate degree from the college. Stark State provides real-world training as part of the education experience for students so they easily transition from the classroom to the world of work.
Elevate Greater Akron also sees the value of the Career Launch program to the community at large.
“A key focus of the Elevate Greater Akron strategy is skilling up the region’s workers to fill in-demand jobs,” said Steve Millard, president, and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber and one of the lead partners of the region’s Elevate Greater Akron regional economic development strategy. “Getting those skills requires pushing through barriers like transportation, outstanding debt, and costs associated with training, the demands of their current job or child or elder care. The Career Launch program is a leading example of the new thinking and partnerships required to meet the needs of employers and to elevate our community’s workforce.”
To learn more about the program, email careerlaunch@akronchildrens.