SSM Hires Graduates of Health Profession Opportunity Grant

Jessica_KimbleJessica Kimble (left) with her HPOG Case Manager at SLATE

Jessica Kimble was among those hired for DePaul Hospital; she said the program gave her the knowledge to finally get a job in the medical field, gain confidence in her chosen path, and that it sparked interest in a future healthcare career.

Jessica, 26, said her position at SSM is Clinical Partner, and that her duties will consist of helping patients with basic needs while they are treated in the hospital. In addition, she will be collecting data for use by nurses and medical personnel to help them better care for their patients. Short of administering medications, Jessica said she’ll be doing everything nurses normally do, helping with medical procedures, changing bandages, etc.

Jessica’s wages will start at $10.07 an hour, with an increase in January, when her rate will go up to $11 (plus the night shift differential).

Helping people has been Jessica’s dream since she was a child; however, entering the medical occupation wasn’t easy. After obtaining her CNA certification at age 17 and Associate’s Degree in Medical Administration, Jessica had difficulty passing her final certification exam and took jobs unrelated to healthcare. It was after graduating from HPOG that Jessica was able to get back on track in pursuit of her dream.

The statewide Health Profession Opportunity Grant, established at SLATE and other Missouri locations last year, aims at helping adult individuals, like Jessica, to obtain the certifications necessary for entry-level positions in nursing, pharmacy, emergency medicine and other healthcare occupations. These include Patient Care Support, Health Information Technology (HIT), Pharmacy Tech, Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, Clinical Partners, among others. Eligibility is based on an income requirement, residency in St. Louis City or County, an H.S. Diploma or GED, Assessment and Random Assignment (lottery).

Depending on the career pathway, classes consist of eight to 12 weeks of studies, combining classroom work at St. Louis Community College’s (STLCC) Forest Park campus and hands-on clinical practice at participating hospitals. The most valuable aspect of the program, Jessica said, was availability of supportive services offered. Her Case Manager at SLATE, Svetlana Kogan, was able to provide her with uniforms, transportation tickets, and other support. Her mentor at STLCC, Laurie Hawkins, assisted with filing forms and paperwork, books, necessary flu shots, tests and exams, and resume preparation.

“There were people at every level to support me and my classmates to help us succeed. Any question, any concern…being patient with me, telling us everything we needed to know. It definitely took stress out of our minds and helped find solutions… I would have never completed the program [without them]. They were 90 percent of my success.”

Jessica said she really enjoyed the practical, hands-on training aspect of the program and it was hugely important to her. She said that when she shadowed the nurse working on the floor handling her patients, she became convinced she had made the right choice of career track. “As long as you remain dedicated, committed and are willing to sacrifice, you’ll succeed,” said Jessica.

Not a stranger to SLATE, Jessica said she found her very first job through our summer youth program, working at Better Family Life, years ago. SLATE has now impacted the next stage of her life. Now, Jessica has set a new goal of becoming a CNA and is thinking about going back to school for her Bachelor’s Degree. She’s even considering using her knowledge and experience in healthcare to start her own business.

24-Hour High School Opens at SLATE

473053205SLATE’s new and unprecedented workforce program have extended services for youth customers after SLATE’s normal closing hours at 5 p.m. Never before have young adults, many of whom are working parents, had an opportunity to attain a High School Diploma and jump start to better jobs with support services available to them 24-hours a day.

To deliver services, SLATE, in partnership with St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS), has opened a virtual high school at its location at 1520 Market Street. This SLPS satellite, called the Workforce High School (WHS), is for young adults, ages 17-21, who have previously dropped out of school. Eligible candidates must be eligible to attend school at SLPS.

Under the program, in addition to high school curriculum and access to teachers, a computer lab, educational resources and technical assistance, young men and women will have 24/7 access to education mentorship and case management services. SLATE will help young people navigate responsibilities at home, school, work, at times dealing with probation and parole, handling doctor visits, and providing daycare for their children.

“There is a gap in services for young people who dropped out of high school. They are in need of a second chance and a different venue to get their high school education,” said Dr. Alice Prince, Manager of SLATE Young Adult Workforce Division. “Many of them are parents, some are working two or three jobs, but they still need a way to get their education. We are meeting them where they are,” she said.

Dr. Prince also said that workers with a High School Diploma or GED have a better chance of landing a better job and live above the minimum wage. She says many young adults, especially those with children, do want to do better for themselves and their families. Once they complete their high school education through WHS, SLATE will continue helping them find better employment and career options.

To operate WHS, SLATE will be using federal funding from its regular budget for youth services, in addition to SLPS funds. So far, 20 young men and women have been enrolled into the program. Dr. Prince said more than 20 young adults are on the waiting list.

“This is the first time that the St. Louis Workforce Development Board (WDB) has opened a high school that is operable 24 hours a day,” Dr. Prince said. “Every youth who dropped out of school, who is willing to go back, deserves an opportunity to complete their education and sometimes this can’t be done during normal business hours, between 9 -5, because their lives aren’t so normal.”

SLATE Receives $1 Million Job Training Grant To Help Train St. Louis Workers For High Growth Industries

employ-milwaukee-092316-athomasRecently, SLATE announced receipt of $977,793 in grant funds, made available through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), to help individuals pursue the education and training necessary to advance their careers or obtain employment. SLATE was part of a group, led by Employ Milwaukee and consisting of Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Gary (Indiana), Detroit, and Milwaukee, that applied under the America’s Promise grant opportunity. The grant has been titled the Compete Midwest America’s Promise Alliance (CMAPA); the total amount awarded across all participating cities was $6 million.

To implement CMAPA in St. Louis, SLATE will enroll/train 250 participants – unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers, with special emphasis on low-income/disadvantaged populations. They will be provided with financial assistance to earn a degree or credential necessary to obtain middle- to high-skilled jobs. CMAPA will also coordinate key regional stakeholders to design new training and employment schemes, enhance participation of local businesses in hiring and retaining talent, and integrate efforts to fully leverage the cost of case management and supporting services among CMAPA’s partners.

Participants must be 16 years or older and not currently in school. More than 1,430 individuals will be trained through this grant over the four (4)-year period.

CMAPA’s primary goal of growing regional economies will be achieved by targeting high-demand industries with significant projected growth. These industries include Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Information Technology (IT), as well as IT-related occupations.

“We have developed a program that will strengthen and help grow economies and workforce not only in St. Louis but the Midwest region at large. Strategic and planning efforts are better done in collaboration – regional partnerships work across the state lines to efficiently use resources and learn best practices from each other,” said Michael K. Holmes, SLATE’s Executive Director.

SLATE will be engaging participants in American Job Centers either through traditional adult and dislocated worker programs or as referrals from partner education and training providers and employers. On-the-Job Training (OJT) will be an essential element to the service strategy, based on options that are the best fit for each participant. Targeted occupations include Financial Analyst, Personal Financial Advisor, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Computer Controller, Pharmacy Technician, Registered Nurse, Medical Assistant, Medical/Clinical Technologist, Medical Records Coding, Computer Support Desk, Computer Systems Analyst, Software Developer, Computer Programmer, and Cyber Security.

Nationwide, $100 million was made available through DOL to expand education and training programs and pilot/scale up innovative tuition-free partnerships between employers, economic development, workforce boards, community/technical colleges, and community-based organizations. To date, SLATE received commitments from employers and employer associations including the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Missouri Enterprise, Hunter Engineering, BioGenerator, BacterioScan, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and two training providers, St. Louis Community College and Ranken Technical College.

The CMAPA grant award was one of 23 awarded and the highest allowed under this opportunity. This is the third successful regional coalition SLATE has been a part of with Employ Milwaukee; the first two were American Apprenticeship and TechHire.

Outreach activities and recruitment of participants for CMAPA will be announced in the near future. Additional info will be found on our website as it becomes available.