WCA's Jobs Waiting Program Retraining the Workforce
Imagine being out of work for over two years, with bills to pay. We hope you’ll never have to experience this nightmare. But for tens of thousands in the Hudson Valley, that nightmare is a reality. But an inventive partnership between Westchester County Association, the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, and the U.S. Department of Labor called the Jobs Waiting program, seeks to retrain 500 of the region’s long-term unemployed to obtain skills in one of our hottest sectors: healthcare.
Under Jobs Waiting, the long-term unemployed—those in the Hudson Valley eligible to work, who have been jobless for at least 27 consecutive weeks—have the opportunity to attend one of 17 boot camps to gain in-demand skills from regional employers (including very large hospital systems and medical practices). While some long-term unemployed balk at changing industries or learning new skills, many leap at the opportunity to join a hot sector like healthcare.
Last fall, 50 people completed the first two Jobs Waiting “Boot Camps” in Westchester and Orange and are currently interviewing for positions or exploring training options. 10 have already secured employment. On Monday, 25 new people began their journey to re-employment at the latest boot camp in White Plains.
“The first thing we do is give participants a sense of confidence and hope,” says Amy Allen, Vice President, Westchester County Association. “Some of the participants have been out of work for a long time and need to relearn the soft skills needed for today’s business environment. Once we help them address the emotional issues of being unemployed for so long, we can then teach the skills that healthcare sector employers are yearning for.”
In the Hudson Valley, the long-term unemployed span all age groups, genders and ethnic backgrounds. They have varied backgrounds and educational levels, many with college and advanced degrees. And while a clinical background is a plus, it’s not necessary Allen says. “Many of the boot camp participants are looking for a pathway to the healthcare industry. They realize once their foot is in the door, they can plot their own trajectory within the organization.”
Please contact Amy Allen if your healthcare-based business or organization has openings that can be filled with Jobs Waiting graduates or call Dani DeMatteis, Program Manager, 914-948-4144 if you want additional information on the program!