To help meet workforce needs in the Glades, Palm Beach State College has established a bridge partnership program for home health aide graduates from West Technical Education Center who desire to continue their training.
Through the partnership with the West Technical Education Center, CareerSource Palm Beach County and Lakeside Medical Center, graduates who qualify are able to take the final two courses of PBSC’s Patient Care Assistant (PCA) program, which includes eligibility to take the state certified nursing assistant licensure exam.
The courses, which are offered at the Lake Worth campus, are currently online due to the pandemic. The students will complete the courses online but be required to demonstrate their skills in person at the Belle Glade campus. Plans are in the works to offer these courses in person at the Belle Glade campus once the pandemic ends.
“Many of our home health aide graduates really want to continue their studies,” said Dr. Charlene Ford, principal at West Technical Education Center. “This partnership now creates a pathway for them to not only become PCAs but to go even further if they choose and become Licensed Practical Nurses or higher.”
This spring, West Tech graduates had the option to take the courses through a morning or night cohort. The morning cohort started Feb. 25 and runs to April 8. The evening one begins March 22 to May 6. Thanks to the Rapid Credentialing Grant PBSC received from the Florida Department of Education, this first cohort of students is receiving tuition assistance and a free laptop. There will be one morning cohort offered this summer and two options again in the fall.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Palm Beach State College to bring this opportunity to our residents in the Glades,” said Charles Duval, associate vice president of business services at CareerSource Palm Beach County. “We have employers tell us that they have had a hard time finding PCAs, and we have had difficulty recruiting for them in this area so a formal program to train in that occupation is a welcome addition.”
Once students complete the courses, they will have the necessary credentials to work in this in-demand field and also continue, if interested, in the nursing pathway at Palm Beach State.
“Palm Beach State College plays an important role in supporting businesses and the economy in Palm Beach County,” said Dr. LaTanya McNeal, executive dean of the Belle Glade campus. “It is wonderful to collaborate with Academic Affairs and Student Services colleagues along with West Technical Education Center, CareerSource and Lakeside Medical Center to create a PCA program for the Belle Glade campus, which would allow West Technical Education Center home health aide graduates to continue their medical career journey at PBSC. This means a brighter future for the workforce needs in the Glades.”
Through the partnership, CareerSource will work with Lakeside Medical Center and other healthcare providers to share vacant positions for qualified graduates. To view positions and apply online, visit www.hcdpbc.org/about-us/careers.
Patient Care Assistants provide nursing support for RN/LPN staff in the hospital and skilled nursing facility. For more information, please call Nursing Program Specialist Rhonda Boles at 561-868-3431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/career-pathways/pathway-health/#psav.