"Right now the health-care field is probably the most recession-proof industry that we have going for us," said Colleen Gardner, commissioner for the New York State Department of Labor. "In this current recession, as we are recovering, there is still, on average, only one job opening for every five people looking for work, but if you are in the health-care field, there is actually one job opening for every one and a half workers looking for a job."
As baby boomers leave the workforce, demand will increase for the health-care field, said Gardner. With the health care workforce expanding, the college can fill local jobs with local residents in the Capital District.
"SCCC has their hands on the pulse of the local economy," said Gardner. "They know what employers are looking for, and they make sure their training programs address the needs of our future workers."
James Connelly, president and CEO of Ellis Hospital, welcomed the news of the grant and the increase it will bring to the local health-care workforce. The hospital will also be partnering with college to provide clinical training sites.
"This is going to provide opportunities to take those folks, once they're in the health-care field, and continue to enhance their skills, to sharpen their skills, to increase their knowledge," said Connelly. "It is a great day for those seeking economic opportunity because those who go through this training and these educational programs supported by this grant will find jobs waiting for them when they graduate and career ladders in health care if they choose to pursue them."
The grant will also enable SCCC to form a partnership with Schenectady County Community Action Program and Albany Community Action Program to place students into the health-care field locally. Both programs have experience providing intensive support services to low-income individuals, said Bullock.
A previous graduate from the CNA program, Sarah Lane, spoke about her experience in the program and how it was more difficult than she expected, but she said she was able to persevere and reach her goal.
"Today I can say thanks to the CNA program and the wonderful people surrounding it, now I know what I want to be," said Lane. "I am closer to my career goal they helped me believe in myself and my ability.""