Baltimore Co Addresses Nurse Shortage Via New Work Training Program

Baltimore County is partnering with the local community college on a new innovative program to offer workforce training to economically disadvantaged residents while helping to address a national nursing shortage.

Baltimore County is launching a $1.7M workforce initiative to address the shortage of nurses in area hospitals and connect residents from historically underserved communities with high-demand nursing positions. The Public Health Pathways Program is in partnership with the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center (UM SJMC) and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).

Funds have been allocated from federal American Rescue Plan dollars to get the program off the ground, in conjunction with $500,000 in funding from the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). The program was launched as a joint initiative with the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).

From a press release:

The Public Health Pathways Program is an innovative workforce development partnership that aims to connect residents in historically underserved communities with high-demand nursing positions through customized educational programming and community wraparound supports.

Eliminating barriers and developing a workforce pipeline

The program pilot will initially provide 30 scholarships that will fully cover the cost of tuition and all educational fees for the CCBC Certified Nursing Assistant program. Additionally, in order to “remove barriers to learning,” student participants in the program will receive a $1,000 per month workforce stipend. The stipend can be flexibly used to supplement wages, address transportation or housing needs, and pay for childcare, or other workforce-related barriers. Furthermore, participants will receive additional financial incentives upon completion of educational programs.

Participants, upon successful completion of CCBC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, will be offered guaranteed employment with full benefits at UM SJMC. There, they will continue their education in a Practical Nursing program — creating a career ladder to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In total, participants will receive a 24-month education program including four months of CNA training, four months of pre-requisites, and 16 months of LPN education.

Dr. Mohan Suntha, President and CEO of UMMS, is confident the project will serve the critical needs of both the industry and community:

Building public-private partnerships such as this are essential to furthering workforce development opportunities that are a critical piece of addressing the staffing challenges facing the healthcare industry. We are confident that our financial investment will pay dividends both for the community members hired as well as for patients we serve.

Sandra Kurtinitis, President of CCBC added, “This is what we do best: reskill and upskill today’s workers. We look forward to this partnership, which will create opportunities for economic independence among students whose options otherwise may be limited.”

Read full press release.

At MACo’s Winter Conference session, “Calling HR: The Evolving Complexities of the Workplace,” participants will hear form a panel of human resource and legal experts about new and emerging considerations of the modern workplace — like safety, benefits, and legal cannabis — and how to best prepare to address them.

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3).

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: