We Served 1,285 Frontline Workers. Let Me Tell You How and Why.

Joanne Pokaski, Director of Workforce Development, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center Boston and Chair, CareerSTAT Executive Committee

Back in 2007, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) had been running “pipeline” programs – efforts to train incumbent workers up into hard to fill jobs – for a few years.  In the course of running these programs, it became clear that many employees did not have the skills – particularly in reading and math – to be successful in our training programs.

BIDMC proposed to the Boston Foundation to develop a program now known as the Employee Career Initiative. The Boston Foundation made a three-year grant to BIDMC on the condition that BIDMC sustain the program with its own funds for an additional three years.  In January 2018, we are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Employee Career Initiative, now fully funded by BIDMC.

Through this program:

  • In partnership with Bunker Hill Community College, BIDMC offers free pre-college courses in reading, English and math, and college-level biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry courses on-site after work hours. BIDMC pays the full cost of courses and textbooks.
  • To ensure that our employees succeed in the programs, we also offer supportive services including:
    • On-site academic assessment at BIDMC: We are a satellite testing site for Bunker Hill.
    • Intrusive advising: We check in with employees when they have missed class or are struggling with coursework.
    • BIDMC employee-volunteer tutors: We match students with employee-volunteers knowledgeable on the subject.
  • All BIDMC employees can access a career and academic advisor who helps employees make a plan and take the next step toward moving their careers forward.

In 10 years this program has served 1,285 employees.  We offer two sessions of classes each year, fall and spring, with four on-site classes per session. This past fall, we had 85 employees enrolled in classes, 8 of whom were paired with tutors.

Our class pass rates have been notable with completion ranging from 83% – 98%.  This is due in part to the commitment of our students and our intrusive advising model.

The Employee Career Initiative has helped BIDMC scale up its career development programs, as more employees now have the skills to succeed in our internal training programs. The ECI has also served as a launching pad for employees to use tuition reimbursement to pursue further education in allied health, nursing, and other in demand fields.

Learn more about BIDMC and other Frontline Healthcare Worker Champions by visiting CareerSTAT at www.NationalFund.org/careerstat. CareerSTAT is currently seek applications for its 2018 Frontline Champions recognition program. The application period is open until March 30th, and all organizations are encouraged to apply.

This blog was authored by Joanne Pokaski, Director of Workforce Development, at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center Boston and Chair of the CareerSTAT Executive Committee