By Angelina Klouthis
The healthcare sector employs more workers than any other job sector in Maine. Before the pandemic, there was a shortage of healthcare workers. More than two years later, the shortage persists. We sat down with Catalina Piedrahita, Healthcare Employment and Training Specialist, to ask her a little about the Health Care Initiatives programs that she leads for the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL).
1. What is Healthcare Training for ME?
Healthcare Training for ME is a statewide collaboration between the Maine Department of Labor, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Adult Education, Maine Community College System, and the University of Maine System to ensure Maine’s workers and employers can easily access healthcare training opportunities, financial assistance, and wrap-around support services. Through this partnership, residents of Maine who want to work in healthcare have access to short-term and mid-term training and financial support with a special focus on the most-needed jobs in our state.
2. How can I find a job in healthcare if I don’t have prior experience?
For those without experience but interested in a career in healthcare, a good first step is setting up a meeting with a health care navigator. They can help get people connected to earn-while-you-learn opportunities, free training, and short-term training opportunities. Navigators can also connect people to scholarships and loan reimbursement programs. Visit CaringForME.org to get started with a healthcare navigator who can guide you through some of the options.
3. What is tuition remission?
This MDOL program provides healthcare employers with funding support to teach additional skills to their current, patient-facing healthcare workers. The program focuses on paying for short-term credentials to advance critical entry-level workers to the next stage in their career – whether that is helping people go from being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or for people with behavioral health certifications like Direct Support Professional (DSP) to move into positions as Mental Health Rehabilitation Technicians (MHRT).
4. Where can I learn more about healthcare training opportunities?
For those who want to learn more about training in healthcare and healthcare jobs, or employers who want to support their employees, more information is available at our website, www.maine.gov/healthcaretrainingforme/
5. How else can the Maine Department of Labor help me?
The MDOL offers a variety of programs and services for both workers and employers. These include job search assistance, workplace oversight, career assistance to people with disabilities, employment data research, and unemployment insurance. For more information, visit: www.maine.gov/labor/