HPOG Promising Practice: Chicago State University - Education, Training, & Support; Employment Strategies

Publication Date: November 16, 2020

Partnerships to STEP-UP in Health Careers at Chicago State University

Chicago, IL

HPOG Programs really STEP-UP to serve their participants

The Partnership to STEP UP in Health Careers (STEP-UP) Visit disclaimer page program at the Chicago State University focuses on a multi-level approach to career improvement in high demand health professions. The program serves low-income individuals and TANF recipients in Chicago, especially the south side and the southern suburbs.

The STEP-UP team identified a problem: they were recruiting new participants, but these individuals did not enroll in basic skills or healthcare training. Eventually they realized their new recruits felt they did not have time for school, because they needed to work. At the same time, the team discussed a new opportunity with a homecare employer to hire individuals that completed the STEP-UP program. They devised another entry level training to address the needs of the homecare industry.

In April 2019, STEP-UP launched the Personal Care Aide (PCA) program, a two-week training designed to get participants into the workplace faster. STEP-UP developed the PCA training in collaboration with employer partner, Addus Homecare Inc. The PCA syllabus includes job responsibilities, required safety and homemaking skills, along with cultural sensitivity, communication skills, and strategies for specialty populations.

PCA is a steppingstone; it provides an opportunity for participants to enter the workforce and gain a marketable skill in a short period of time. STEP-UP also shortened H.O.P.E. Academy, the prerequisite for the PCA program, to decrease the waiting time between intake to classroom. As a result, STEP-UP increased the number of participants enrolled in and completing healthcare training.

The PCA training enabled individuals to enter the healthcare workforce sooner and with more confidence. Twenty-seven participants completed PCA training in six months and 59 percent of those participants are employed in the homecare field. Homecare employers noted a job readiness among PCA graduates not seen previously. This project demonstrated the effectiveness of partnerships to improve training and the employment pipeline.

This Promising Practice was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

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