CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For the past two years, the Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) has facilitated two successful grant programs with funds awarded by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation (MCHF) with the intent to advance health outcomes of vulnerable New Yorkers. The Acute Care Training Program is entering its third year of operation and the IHA Mother Cabrini Scholarship Program is entering its second.

The Acute Care Training Program provides healthcare employees with free online training focused on strengthening soft skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, professional development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and more. The courses help employees enhance their skills and move up the career ladder. IHA’s course library includes 100 courses developed by subject-matter experts.

The second component of the training program is a series of educational webinars designed to help hospital leadership think strategically about recruitment and retention. The webinars are a source of collaboration and problem solving, leaving participants with next steps to achieve their goals. Webinars conducted in 2022 can be viewed online.

The IHA Mother Cabrini Scholarship Program fund consists of $264,000 designated to help low-income and/or diverse hospital workers looking to earn a degree or certification as either an RN, LPN, respiratory therapist, lab technologist, or medical technologist.

The healthcare field has suffered from severe staffing shortages for several years only to be exacerbated by the pandemic. IHA identifies job titles that have the highest vacancy rates in its hospitals through a quarterly survey and offers scholarships to employees pursuing education in those areas. Based on new data, the 2023 round of scholarships will also be offered for surgical technician education.

In 2022, scholarships for $9,428 were awarded to 28 hospitals to be used for employee education. Recipients included a single mother who immigrated from Ukraine looking to change her career from a nurse aide to a registered nurse, as well as others looking to transition from non-clinical to clinical roles.

“Growing demand for services, rising costs, and current and projected shortages of workers create an urgent need for a nurtured workforce capable of accomplishing the incredible tasks that are asked of it.,” said IHA President and CEO Gary Fitzgerald. “The Acute Care Training program and the IHA Mother Cabrini Scholarship are two steps towards a healthier workforce. We thank the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for their continued support of these efforts and for their investment in Upstate and rural health.”

“As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown. Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity, and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.