As the region’s healthcare sector continues to grow, many of Westchester’s under- or unemployed may be missing out on a bevvy of prime positions. As part of a four-year plan stretching to 2019, the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board has created a Career Pathways program “to help its customers, primarily, low skilled and under-employed individuals, pursue careers that will offer growth and high wages in industries that are growing and pay high wages,” says Donnovan Beckford, Executive Director, Westchester County Office of Workforce Development and Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board.
The program itself will operate out of Westchester-Putnam One Stop career centers. According to Beckford, “Career Pathways is a series of organized steps with multiple entry and exit points that lead participants toward careers with increased earning opportunities by providing industry recognized credentials, certificates, and/or licensures.” Career Pathways links education and occupational training to subsequent employment through a mix of educational and training instruction combined with “intensive case-management, career readiness, career exploration retention, and follow-up.”
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The board’s Career Centers already service a variety of individuals that utilize the public workforce system for job search and career development. “These individuals can include the unemployed, long-term unemployed, underemployed, youth, young adults and mature adults,” adds Beckford.
“Furthermore, these individuals can be college educated, college graduates with advanced degrees, high school graduates, and non-high school graduates.”
Career Pathways provides an opportunity for tuition assistance (when funding is available), for those who are eligible, allowing them to gain skills and acquire credentials, along with the career counseling support needed to guide them to their various goals. According to Beckford, Career centers will be screening and identifying candidates for pathways in healthcare in the near future.