Building Healthcare Pathways in Rural Appalachian Ohio

The project was developed to provide a solution to twin issues impacting the eight-county service area in Ohio (Holmes, Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan, Noble, and Washington): poor health outcomes and disparities paired with a critical shortage of healthcare professionals. The BHPRAO collaboration of stakeholders from education, economic development, and the healthcare industry are working together to create economic prosperity and gainful employment opportunities. Two primary needs emerged from the collaborative and strategic planning efforts: Need 1. There is a need to create seamless healthcare pathways among educational and training providers in an eight-county rural Appalachian region based on current education offerings and workforce demand data to fully address the needs of rural citizens impacted by poverty, high rates of substance abuse and opioid addiction, low educational attainment and other factors. Need 2. There is a need for flexible delivery of education and training addressing identified workforce trends along with the specific skill gaps and challenges faced by three targeted populations—new entrants to the workforce, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers desiring to advance in the healthcare industry.

Goals and measurable objectives developed to achieve the anticipated outcomes: Goal 1. Provide efficient career pathways leading to gainful and sustainable employment in the health care industry in Appalachian Ohio through coordination of all regional educational and training resources. Goal 2. Improvement of the overall health and economic well-being of a region identified as medically distressed through provision of a well-trained workforce with competencies in a variety of high demand healthcare careers and a focus in specific needs of the region including substance abuse and opioid addiction.

A consortium approach was deployed in the development of the Building Healthcare Pathways in Rural Appalachian Ohio project model and will be sustained throughout the project implementation and beyond the funding period. By leveraging both the resources and the best work among consortium members, increasing coordination with workforce development agencies, and deepening engagement with industry partners, we are building accelerated learning pathways that allow multiple entry and exit points for participants leading to higher wages and quality of life. The project also increases the engagement of employers who have committed to hire the program completers and graduates.

Consortium partners include: (Industry) Genesis Healthcare, Muskingum Valley Healthcare, Marietta Memorial Hospital, Muskingum Behavioral Health, and Southeastern Ohio Medical, (Education) Central Ohio Technical Center, Mideast Technical Center, Zane State College, and (Industry) Ohio Mideastern Government Association (OMEGA), Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ).

Industry-Recognized Credential(s) to be Awarded: Practical Nursing (Adult and High School); Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN); State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA); Paramedic (Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Technician and/or Emergency Medical Responder); Phlebotomist; Multi-Skilled Health Technician (MSHT); Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA); Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTAP); Medical Assisting (MEDA); Radiology Technician (RADT); Medical Lab Tech; and Health Information Management.

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