If we needed any more evidence that the biotech and healthcare sectors are the hottest industries in Westchester, we just got it: the Westchester County Association (WCA) announced Tuesday a series of initiatives aimed at addressing our region’s critical need for skilled workers in those areas. At a news conference in White Plains, WCA Chairman William P. Harrington, pointing to the 2,500 jobs currently open in the healthcare, technology, and business sectors in the Hudson Valley, announced the launch of the Hudson Valley Workforce Academy. The newly formed training program is a result of the WCA’s close collaboration with local healthcare, business, and higher education organizations; it will offer certificate-based short-term courses that complement those planned or already in progress at various colleges and universities. The overall goal? To develop a skilled workforce that will keep the area’s healthcare sector growing.
“The healthcare sector is the Hudson Valley’s largest economic engine, contributing more than $15 billion to the regional economy,” Harrington said at the press conference. “It is critical to develop a qualified healthcare workforce to keep that engine from stalling. The Hudson Valley Workforce Academy, in cooperation with members of our integrated healthcare consortium and WCA Higher Education Committee, will help our region attract and retain talent, upgrade the skills of the currently employed, and foster job creation for the unemployed and underemployed.”
The Hudson Valley Workforce Academy kicks off with a five-week course in healthcare analytics that begins on February 24.
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A virtual who’s who of major Hudson Valley leaders have voiced their support for the Academy, and many were on hand at the press event, including Montefiore Medical Center Senior Vice President of System Network Development Jeffrey Menkes, Westchester Medical Center Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning Tony Mahler, and President of Mercy College Tim Hall.
Harrington made two other significant announcements at the event:
The members of the WCA Hudson Valley Healthcare Consortium have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to address the critical need for skilled workers. “The Hudson Valley Healthcare Consortium will be a further catalyst for addressing the collective challenges faced by the healthcare, business, and higher education communities,” added Amy Allen, WCA vice president and executive director of the academy program.
The WCA will also apply for a $9.8 million grant from the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board to create the Hudson Valley Healthcare Connection to provide 75 healthcare workers with advanced training and 425 long-term unemployed people with intensive training for healthcare jobs.