Penn Highlands Healthcare partnership advances healthcare workforce

Penn Highlands Healthcare plans to expand the Clearfield (Pa.) County Career and Technology Center's practical nursing program by sponsoring tuition for students who sign an employment agreement.

According to a Sept. 28 news release, students who agree to the terms have the option of working at a Penn Highlands Healthcare hospital, outpatient facility or physician practice in Pennsylvania after graduation, in addition to receiving a full-time benefits package with the health system, in exchange for tuition. 

The partnership intends to address a regional shortage in nursing, and practical nursing is a high-priority occupation in the state's workforce development areas. 

Clearfield County Career and Technology Center Executive Director Fred Redden said the partnership is a valuable opportunity for students. 

"An education at potentially no cost, with opportunities to transition into introductory positions while attending school, is that break that some people need. A chance for an education to a new career all within one year. We take pride in providing big steps to big futures and our newest partnership with Penn Highlands is another great local opportunity," said Mr. Redden. 

DuBois, Pa.-based Penn Highlands Healthcare assistant vice president of the physician network, Amber Weis, said the organization is excited to offer the opportunity to students and improve the workforce. 

"This is beneficial for both the students seeking careers in nursing as well as for our health system. They will receive an excellent education from one of the region's best technical schools along with a seamless transition into the workforce, and we will gain highly qualified nurses to provide care to our patients and communities," Ms. Weis said.

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