NEPA Health Care Foundation Announces Rollout of Careers in Care Initiative

Members News

During a time where the strains on the healthcare workforce in Northeastern Pennsylvania have been significant, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation announces its timely rollout of the Careers in Care program. The Scranton Area Community Foundation serves as the administrator of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care initiative—which focuses on developing the regional pipeline of the healthcare workforce and the growth and development of the nursing workforce in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties—will provide a combination of grant funding and scholarship support to help move the needle on these critical areas. Careers in Care is a $1.5 million commitment over a three-year period (2020-2023).

“The Foundation’s Board understands the strains that the regional healthcare workforce is facing and,  through the Careers in Care initiative, strives to make an impact to address these critical issues,” said James Clemente, NEPA Health Care Foundation Board Chair. “Over the past year, we have seen just how timely this really is.”

Through Careers in Care, the NEPA Health Care Foundation will provide grant support to a variety of organizations. These include Lackawanna College, for its three-year plan to enhance the pipeline of local healthcare professionals and increase the number trained and retained in the region; United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA for its Upward Economic Mobility Program, partnering with Johnson College to offer a workforce development program for unemployed and underemployed individuals interested in obtaining technical certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant or Medical Assistant—two high-demand health careers; and Johnson College, to establish a mobile training laboratory providing hands-on experience to teach students what it is like to work in the healthcare field. Additionally, the Foundation will fund the Greater Hazleton Partners in Education’s Career Pathways to Health Care Program, designed to promote learning about health science and medical professions for middle school students, where discussions will be led by health care professionals from the Lehigh Valley Health Network. The Careers in Care initiative will also provide funding to support the Children’s Service Center for their scholarship program addressing the lack of racially diverse behavioral health professionals; Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium (NTIEC) to increase healthcare career awareness and work-based learning placements for regional high school students; and Saint Joseph’s Center for direct support professional wage increases. 

In addition to grant funding, the NEPA Health Care Foundation is establishing a $700,000 nursing scholarship program through the Scranton Area Community Foundation, which is targeted to support the growth and development of the nursing workforce in NEPA. The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program will begin accepting applications in early March 2021 and will be open to students with demonstrated financial need who plan to pursue or who are pursuing nursing and who will practice in Northeastern Pennsylvania. An announcement in early March will provide detailed instructions on how students can apply through the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s online portal.

“These scholarships will provide the much needed financial support to students who may otherwise not have been able to further their education,” stated Director of Nursing and Associate Professor of Practice at Marywood University, Dr. Theresa Tulaney, PhD, MS, RN, GCNS. “In addition, it will allow students to focus on their education instead of having to work many hours to alleviate difficult financial situations,” she added.

The rollout of the Careers in Care initiative comes after the completion of a regional listening tour which the Foundation conducted from May through September of 2019.  The NEPA Health Care Foundation conducted 30 site visits across the region to determine the health workforce challenges from the perspective of multiple healthcare providers, colleges, universities, vocational schools, agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, and how the Foundation could best make an impact.

“It was clear from discussions during our listening tour that there is a great demand for nurses at all levels. Supply is just not able to meet demand,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. She continued, “It was also clear that the development of the regional health workforce pipeline needs to continue to start earlier with students.” The Scranton Area Community Foundation administers the NEPA Health Care Foundation.

Additional details about the Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program will be released in early March 2021.

In addition to the Careers in Care initiative, the NEPA Health Care Foundation is also in the seventh year of a $3.2 million commitment to the Geisinger Commonwealth Medical School (GCSOM) for scholarship support for incoming first year medical students from Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties.  The NEPA Health Care Foundation Scholars program covers full tuition for these scholars, who indicate a commitment to practice medicine in Northeastern PA.