Workforce Development Provides Skills and Jobs to City Residents
Raven Montgomery has dreamed about being a nurse for as long as she can remember. Montgomery, who is a patient transporter at UMMC, is well on her way, thanks to help from the UMMC University and Midtown Campus Office of Workforce Development and Community Partnerships (WDCP). Montgomery had an eight-week internship at UMMC through the Healthcare Careers Alliance, a partnership that includes UMMC, Sinai Hospital and Civic Works. The alliance provides work-readiness skills training, job training and career coaching. After completing her internship at UMMC, Montgomery applied for a job at the Medical Center. She was hired first for a job in one of the labs, and then for one working directly with patients as a transporter.
“I never would have gotten this opportunity if it weren’t for the Workforce Development office,” Montgomery said. “There are so many support systems in place. I was able to use my education benefits to get my certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification. I am now enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County and am on my way to realizing my dream of becoming a nurse.”
Montgomery is just one of hundreds of Baltimore-area youth to be mentored in programs run or sponsored by UMMC in partnership with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office and other community groups. The goal is to help community residents get health care jobs and advance their careers. The WDCP does this by introducing youth to health care careers, creating opportunities for UMMC employees to learn new skills and providing employment opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed in the city.
“We owe it to the communities we serve to provide employment opportunities for the youth and adults who live here,” said Jo-Ann Williams, manager of UMMC’s Office of Workforce Development and Community Partnerships. “To be competitive in the marketplace, we have to build a great team. And what better way to do this than by developing qualified health care workers who live right in our back yard? The programs we offer have been effective in mentoring and training young people so they have the necessary skills to succeed.”
Offerings include mentoring for college students as well as training for high school students with developmental challenges. One internship program is open to minority college students with an interest in health administration. The two UMMC hospitals also offer college prep classes, computer literacy and career coaching for their current employees.
“We are committed to investing in our future workforce by engaging the community’s youth,” Williams said. “And the results show that our workforce development programs have helped us find, train and hire qualified health care workers from our community, which is very rewarding.”