Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Grants Help Fill Health Care Jobs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Grants Help Fill Health Care Jobs

Article excerpt

PARAMUS -- Front-line health care workers are in demand by local employers, according to the Northern New Jersey Health Professions Consortium, which held its semiannual workshop summit Tuesday at Bergen Community College.

Ten community colleges in the northern half of the state, including BCC and Passaic County Community College, make up the consortium, which began two years ago to meet the increasing demand for health care workers and was developed as part of a five-year, $24 million federal grant under the Affordable Care Act, director Justin Doheny said.

It is aimed at low-income individuals, and plans to provide 1,000 people a year with certification and jobs skills in health care, he said.

Randall Wilson, a senior project manager at Jobs for the Future, which designs and implements career and education pathways for low- income individuals, said there is a rising demand for health care workers such as pharmacy technicians, nursing assistants, health information technicians, home health aides, dental assistants and medical assistants.

The over-65 population will double in the next 20 years, and one in six will need long-term care, Wilson said.

"It creates a huge labor demand for nursing assistants, home caretakers and geriatric assistants," Wilson said.

From 2010 to 2020, there is a projected 70 percent growth in the number of home health and personal care aides, the fastest growth in the field, which would add more than 1.3 million jobs, Wilson said.

These positions do not require a bachelor's degree or license, have annual incomes under $40,000 and have a high turnover rate because of low wages and hard labor.

These positions make up half of 12 million health care workers in the country, but many employers do not invest in these workers, he said.

"We think with investment, there are more opportunities to improve care," Wilson said.

Ellen Aramini, director of Job Placement Services for BCC's School of Continuing Education, Corporate & Public Sector Training, said many companies also are looking for people with experience. …

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