Helping Employees Grow
These Delaware companies build their workforce with internal training programs and partnerships.
In any kind of business, a certain level of excitement comes from hiring new staff members. There is an expectation that those coming aboard will make significant impacts.
Sometimes, the best person for the job is already working for the company. That individual understands the culture and expectations, and knows how things are done. Other times, it’s a matter of tapping into the right pool of workers who will fit in with the company’s culture and can easily be trained up to take skilled positions. Here are the innovative ways in which three Delaware employers are filling their job openings.
When most people go to school to learn new career skills, they have to pay. This fall, 10 ChristianaCare employees will get paid to learn.
The hospital system’s “Medical Assistant University” program allows ChristianaCare staff interested in becoming MAs to undergo 21 weeks of training that includes two seven-week sessions at Delaware Technical Community College, followed by a seven-week practicum in a doctor’s office — all while still receiving their regular salaries.
So, instead of recruiting people trained elsewhere to fill the MA spots in ChristianaCare’s three hospitals and numerous ambulatory care facilities, the health care system decided to assemble a program of its own. “We thought, ‘Why not offer our own MA education and create our own talent, while giving them an opportunity to follow a new career path,’” says Laurie Domiano, MA training development manager.
ChristianaCare began developing the program in 2019 and was hoping to debut it in spring 2020, but the pandemic pushed the start back. The expectations for those participating are that they complete their coursework— which will provide them with 36 college credits — pass the certification exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants and then take a position at ChristianaCare.
Medical assistants perform a variety of services in physicians’ offices, including greeting patients, taking vital signs, doing testing, communicating with primary physicians and assisting them during examinations and setting up follow-ups.
“There is tons of patient interaction and becoming an MA can lead to supervising and managerial opportunities in the future,” Domiano says. “By providing this training to our employees, we get people who are already immersed in our culture, which makes for a shorter onboarding program.”
If Jenna Grasley has learned anything during her 14 years at JPMorgan Chase, it’s that talent can be found just about anywhere.
That’s why the financial institution has developed a partnership with Zip Code, the Wilmington-based coding education program, to find people to fill some of its technology employment needs.
“We’re broadening our scope of where we look for talent,” says Grasley, JPMorgan Chase’s executive director of tech for social good/emerging talent. “Technology can be learned a lot of different ways.”
Zip Code provides its students with a12-week curriculum that prepares them for jobs in a variety of technology fields. JPMorgan Chase has been hiring its graduates since 2015. It has also helped shape the nonprofit’s course of study and has held a seat on the Zip Code Advisory Board.
At first, JPMorgan Chase would look to hire Zip Code alums to fill individual positions, but it has pivoted recently to create cohorts of new employees from Zip Code and other training programs.The cohort that is starting in August will include 80 people and comes from several tech training entities. A second group will begin in October.
“By coming in as a cohort, they can learn JPMorgan’s technology and also our culture,” Grasley says. “They take part in a multi-week induction training.”
The relationship has worked well for both sides and has allowed people to change careers and find new paths.
“We’ve hired individuals who were in the food-and-beverage industry, who were in auto sales or who were in other engineering roles,” Grasley says. “Zip Code does a phenomenal job finding talent that has technology aptitude and teaching it how to code.”
For many people, the last way they want to spend the run-up to holidays is by getting in some extra training in the workplace. There are meals to plan and guest lists to finalize. But at BrightFields, Inc., a
Wilmington-based environmental consulting firm, not only does the 44-person staff embrace the opportunity for some education around the holidays, but staff members actually decide what should be covered.
“They all design [the training] and put it together,” says Marian Young, founder and president of BrightFields. For the past few years, the company has sponsored training the weeks before Thanksgiving and Easter. The idea came after company leaders found that it was difficult to get everybody together during the year. They decided the time before holidays was an ideal opportunity.
Some of the training is task-specific, such as how to analyze soil samples taken from sites that the company is checking for environmental concerns and how to use a chainsaw. Sometimes, “soft skills,” like networking, are covered. OSHA and HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) refreshers are offered. Sometimes, employees learn presentation skills. There is also a “bootcamp” that provides instruction in a variety of field skills. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the training took place virtually.
“We try to make it fun,” Young says. Not only does BrightFields work with its own employees, it also has invited students from the University ofDelaware to take part in mentoring and some skill development.
“We’re all about education,” Young says.
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