United Way affiliates nationwide are collaborating with local organizations to affect positive change in their communities. At UWMC, we’re excited about the potential this collaborative business model has for Monterey County.
In 2008, the Tri-State region of Northern Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio was facing both high unemployment and a skills gap which left many of the available positions that did exist unfilled. It just made sense to work within the community to fill that gap. That’s when Partnership for a Competitive Workforce (PCW) formed with the help of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Working together, area schools, employers, social support agencies and religious organizations reached out across health, manufacturing, tech and construction sectors to get the area workforce back on its feet and build a thriving community.
Below is a success story of just one of the collaborative efforts under PCW.
Stephanie pictured herself as a scrub nurse but started her family young. Under the weight of personal and financial demands, she pushed college out of the picture. In 2007, a few years after starting a secretarial position at TriHealth, Stephanie learned about School at Work® (SAW) from an encouraging coworker. She described her initial reaction as an ‘overwhelming feeling of fear’ because of her shyness and being out of school for twenty years. She pushed herself, however, and applied. The SAW experience boosted her confidence, taught her that ‘fear is only what you make of it’, and motivated her to continue.
Perfectly timed, TriHealth soon became a Health Careers Collaborative (HCC) partner and needed employees for a nursing cohort. With her new-found confidence, Stephanie seized the opportunity. The pre-paid tuition along with the additional SAW grant funds and evening course schedule made her vision of being a scrub nurse real again, although still scary!
Over the next four years, Stephanie worked hard to balance demands of home, work and school. Scheduling challenges became very difficult once she reached ‘clinicals’ – onsite experience – but she worked with her manager and career coach to make changes that met everyone’s needs. December 13, 2012, Stephanie graduated with her Associate’s Degree, obtained her RN license soon after and became a Staff RN for TriHealth. Her pay has increased more than 50% since this journey began and she has plans to begin her Bachelor’s soon.
Stephanie and her family are now financially self-sufficient and she can dream of a brighter future for her kids. In her HCC application, Stephanie explained, “…becoming a nurse will help me be able to take care of my family needs and not worry about how we will live in the future. Having that security will decrease my stress and help me to be a better parent.”
Stephanie’s is just one of the successes made possible by UW of Greater Cincinnati and PCW.
Story generously provided by Sharron DiMario, Executive Director of Health Careers Collaborative, Partners for a Competitive Workforce.