Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) throughout the state joined together today for a Train Up Day to encourage career development and workforce opportunities within their Community Health Centers. Train Up Day provides a chance to share available positions and job openings for employees to grow within their organization. During the event, Health Centers highlighted various success stories of employees who moved up the ladder. Many Health Center employees begin their career as entry-level employees and have the opportunity to move into new roles after receiving the necessary training and education. The event also included descriptions of the various departments within the Health Center as well as education and training employees can take advantage of.
“FQHCs are not only providers of health care, but also contribute to professional advancement of employees. Since the 1960’s, Community Health Centers have been places where community members could share their skills, educate their neighbors and uplift their communities through the provision of quality healthcare. Our rich history in New Jersey communities and throughout the country highlight the opportunities that have always existed and continue to this day for dedicated healthcare professionals,” said Jillian Hudspeth, New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) President and CEO.
A variety of career opportunities exist at FQHCs. In total, the 24 New Jersey FQHCs employ over 3,000 employees, including 1,858 medical professionals at 134 sites. FQHC career positions include nurses, physician assistants, doctors, medical assistants, lab technicians/phlebotomists, dentists, social workers, behavioral health counselors, security guards, information technology experts, human resource directors, chief operating officers, billers, and community health workers. Many Health Center CEOs shared their personal career journey with their team in order to inspire employees.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) like Charlene Rivero have had the opportunity to develop their career at a Community Health Center. Charlene completed the LPN program at Berkeley College in September 2016 and passed her test in December 2016. When she applied for an LPN position at Metropolitan Family Health Network (MFHN) in their Adult Medicine department in March of 2017, she was not originally hired for the position because she was less experienced than another candidate. However, Charlene was hired for a clerical position in MFHN’s Adult Medicine Department, obtained valuable experience about Center operations and only a short time later her hard work and dedication was rewarded with a promotion as an LPN in MFHN’s OB/GYN Department.
“When I was looking for jobs, I always wanted to work at a Federally Qualified Health Center to educate the community, especially to ensure that the immigrant population has access to quality healthcare. Many people simply do not get the health care they need for economic reasons, but Community Health Centers provide a place where they can go,” said Charlene. “After I gained experience as a clerk, my employer quickly recognized my qualifications and promoted me to an open LPN position. I appreciate that Metropolitan Family Health Network is very supportive of my development. When I am ready to take the next step to return to school to become an RN, I know that they will accommodate my schedule.”
MFHN Chief Operating Officer, Scott Carey said, “It’s great to see staff members develop in the Center. In Charlene’s case she joined MFHN as a clerk and proved that she was knowledgeable, reliable and dependable. Those are great qualities to have as a Health Center employee, so once a clinical position became available, she was a great fit. The experience Charlene gained as a clerk seemed to help her tremendously. She knew much more about how the Center operated and was very confident that she could manage the clinical position when it became available.”
Federally Qualified Health Centers are unique places for healthcare professionals and aspiring workers to grow their career, share skills, and uplift communities. As part of Train Up Day, MFHN discussed career development opportunities and hosted Hudson County Community College who discussed affordable education options to employees. The event was held at MFHN’s 935 Garfield Avenue location in Jersey City.
About the New Jersey Primary Care Association
The New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) is an advocate for Community Health Centers as well as a provider of comprehensive education, training, and technical assistance to Health Centers in New Jersey. NJPCA currently has 24 Health Centers, one of which is a look-alike and 134 satellite sites providing healthcare services to over 500,000 people in New Jersey. For more information about NJPCA, please visit njpca.org.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) also known as Community Health Centers are in every state across the nation. FQHCs are authorized under Section 330(A) of the Public Health Services Act to provide healthcare to the medically underserved. Many Community Health Centers and their sites are specially designated to serve the needs of special populations including homeless populations, public housing residents, migrant and seasonal farm workers, veterans and school-aged children. For more information about the HRSA Health Center Program, please visit bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.