Rush University Medical Center is a nonprofit, 700-plus bed academic medical center just west of downtown Chicago. The medical center’s mission is to improve the health of the individuals and diverse communities it serves through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research, and community partnerships. As the largest non-government employer on Chicago’s West Side, the medical center is an anchor for the surrounding community. The medical center employs roughly 10,000 people and prides itself on long-standing programs that provide experiential learning and personal development to its frontline staff and community residents.
Training is integral to frontline worker career advancement. In partnership with several community-based organizations, the medical center offers a unique opportunity for young people to explore the healthcare industry while acquiring the certification needed to become a patient care technician (PCT) within the health system. The initial cohort of students has completed this program, and 78% of them graduated. Of those, 86% received full-time employment offers from the medical center. Workers are also able to access a new Medical Assistant Pathway Program (MAPP) that gives full-time frontline employees an opportunity to complete a local medical assistant certification program. Launched in 2018, the program is a collaboration with three other local health systems. Participants receive fully-funded tuition support, a transportation subsidy, and career coaching.