“Healthcare organizations and business turned to the WCA for a solution to a perennial problem: there are over 2,500 healthcare and technology jobs waiting to be filled in the Hudson Valley, but not enough qualified candidates to fill them,” Mr. Harrington explained. “The concept of the Academy evolved by working closely with these key stakeholders. It will help better position workers to fill the vacant positions, create jobs, and help our regional economy grow. This is a time for action.”
Marissa Brett, WCA president, added: “Because of our long history of collaboration with all the stakeholders, we were in a singular position to help.” In addition to the new MOU signed by members of the WCA Hudson Valley Healthcare Consortium, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed during the past four years with the area college presidents
and city mayors to collaborate with the WCA’s BLUEPRINT initiative to drive economic development and create jobs.
WCA Hudson Valley Healthcare Consortium to Play a Pivotal Role
Amy Allen, WCA vice president and executive director of the new Academy added: “The healthcare industry is undergoing radical transformation, and the WCA has a proven track record, of more than a decade, of staying ahead of the curve through legislative advocacy, creating alliances deep and wide, and launching economic development initiatives. The Hudson Valley Healthcare Consortium will be a further catalyst for addressing the collective challenges in faced by the healthcare, business, and higher education communities.”
Numerous healthcare leaders showed their support of the Academy by attending today’s WCA news conference, including Jeffrey Menkes, senior vice president, system network development, Montefiore Medical Center: Tony Mahler, senior vice president, strategic planning, Westchester Medical Center, and Tim Hall, president, Mercy College.
A Chorus of Support
A virtual who’s who of major Hudson Valley leaders have voiced their support for the Academy and the Westchester County Association’s proactive approach.
“The Westchester County Association’s announcement about their Hudson Valley Workforce Academy is an exciting initiative that will help raise the skill level of our workforce and fill the many positions in our region that remain vacant, particularly in the life sciences sector,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey, (Westchester-Rockland). “I congratulate the WCA on this new program and their on-going leadership role in bringing together the health care, business and academic sectors. I look forward to continuing to work with them on this collaborative approach to fostering economic development.”
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino stated: “The county’s healthcare sector, which the WCA has championed, needs talented and skilled workers to continue its growth. “The WCA’s Hudson Valley Workforce Academy matches training to jobs, similar to the county’s Westchester Smart Jobs Training program. Going forward I look forward to working with the WCA to connect residents and businesses to these new resources that will strengthen Westchester's economy. I applaud the WCA on their new initiative."
WCA Will Apply to Manage $9.8 Million Workforce Grant
The WCA also announced that it will respond to a forthcoming Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board RFP to serve as project manager of the “Hudson Valley Healthcare Connection.” Funded by a $9.8 million Federal Ready to Work Partnership grant, the Hudson Valley Healthcare Connection will provide 425 long-term unemployed individuals with intensive training for healthcare jobs. The grant also will train 75 people who are already working but seek to improve their skills. Targeted professions include registered nurses; medical coders; radiologic and MRI technicians, and other occupations as required by business.
Noting that the Hudson Valley Healthcare Connection is a regional partnership between the public sector, healthcare providers, and colleges, Ms. Brett described the WCA as an ideal project manager. “The WCA has proven it can turn a vision into a successful, tangible program,” she said. She cited as examples WCA’s BLUEPRINT for Westchester, four groundbreaking economic development and healthcare conferences, the BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network, creation of biotech, tech, and healthcare networking groups, and the work of the original WCA Blue Ribbon Task Force on Healthcare Reform, created in 2005.
“All of these initiatives started as bright ideas,” Mr. Harrington added. “We brought different groups to the table and figured out how to get things done. We are fast, effective, and strategic, and we get results. These are the attributes needed to manage a project of this importance and scope.”