OCPE Receives $1 Million Grant to Train Employees in one of NJ’s Fastest Growing Industries – Health Care

Photo of the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education Sign

NJ Department of Labor award will train incumbent workers of health care organizations

Several New Jersey health care facilities are getting a boost: their current front-line employees are receiving training to upgrade their skills from the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE) thanks to a $1 million grant awarded to OCPE by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL). The goal: help individual workers feel more valued and be more productive; save organizations time and money while making them more competitive; and retain highly skilled, high wage positions in the state.

The training courses – which are customized for each organization – are already being delivered to more than 30 organizations, including Atlantic Health System, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and St. Peter’s Healthcare System.  Topics range from soft skills – customer service, leadership and communication – to computer skills to technical clinical courses and medical refresher courses.  Training can be offered in a classroom setting or, in some cases, electronically delivered. OCPE has even partnered with the New Jersey Hospital Association to provide specialized training in ICD-10 – an internationally-recognized medical coding system.  

“In many cases, staff has acquired skills that have or will allow them to advance in the workforce,” said Julie Feibush, Grants Coordinator for St. Peter’s Healthcare System. “From the point of view of patient service, quality, cultural competency and customer service, the grant has been very useful to us.”

Raritan Bay Medical Center is a repeat customer thanks to the positive experience the first time around. “It was a high quality education and having it grant funded made it very easy for the organization to really embrace it and run with the program,” said JoAnn Ferrara, Raritan Bay’s Director of Medical Records.

In an effort to support a core mission of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station – that of economic development – OCPE partnered with the DOL in 1997 to provide customized training programs to a variety of New Jersey companies including health care organizations, retail food stores, financial service providers and general retailers.  Since that time, over 175 companies have been served and more than 75,000 employees trained.  For the current Rutgers Health Care Partners consortium grant, OCPE began by working with the NJ Health Care Talent Network to assess the training needs of health care facilities around the state. From there, OCPE developed a list of 46 courses that were approved by the DOL. The training period began in March 2013 and runs through February 2014.

“In tough economic times, a company’s training budget is often first to get cut,” said Kathleen Marrs, Director of OCPE’s Workforce Development Unit. “That is why these programs are so important – to help employees keep their skills sharp and help companies stay competitive, especially in a global economy.”

Despite having several organizations already participating, OCPE is still recruiting additional health care facilities to join the training consortium. “The qualification process only takes a few minutes over the phone,” explained OCPE Program Coordinator Felicia Conte. “We try to make it as easy and seamless as possible.”

To learn more or to find out if your organization is eligible to join the training consortium, contact Felicia Conte at 732-932-9271, ext. 662 or by email at conte@njaes.rutgers.edu.
 

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