R-AHEC Receives Western New York Workforce Development Challenge Grant

Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center (R-AHEC) is pleased to announce that it is a recipient of a Western New York Workforce Development Challenge Grant. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Friday, December 14, 2018 that R-AHEC was one of six local not-for-profit organizations awarded funding from the first round of the Western New York Workforce Development Challenge. The program will ensure the region’s workforce pipeline meets industry demands in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and energy. Funding is provided by a grant from Empire State Development (ESD) administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

R-AHEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Catherine P. Huff said, “R-AHEC is honored to receive this grant award and we are looking forward to expanding training opportunities for the healthcare workforce.”

“Investing in our workforce is essential for continued growth in Buffalo and Western New York,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made the announcement on Friday in Niagara Falls. “In order to keep up with the needs of the labor market, New York must lead the way to train workers in
advanced manufacturing, health care, and energy to close the skills gap and create a pipeline of talent for employers. The Workforce Development Challenge Awards will target resources to ensure training is available across Western New York for good-paying jobs that will move our economy forward.”

The $10 million program is designed to promote and invest in innovative approaches to workforce training for underserved populations throughout Western New York. The Workforce Development Challenge will help increase the capacity of community-based trainers who have proven track records, trusted community relationships, and outstanding abilities for outreach and recruitment.

R-AHEC was awarded $388,979 for its project called “ATHOS: A Rural Innovative Training Opportunity.” The project will develop a care coordination training program that will serve the rural, medically-underserved communities and the local healthcare industry through an expansion of the ATHOS training program. ATHOS (Advancement Training for Healthcare Occupations) is a program  division of R-AHEC that was launched in 2016 to help meet the demand for health workforce trainings
in the region.

The project will expand training and be developed into online modules, and will offer opportunities for direct classroom or a hybrid program as needed by the industry partner. The key focus of the curriculum is to educate individuals on techniques to enhance patient-centered care, improve the delivery of healthcare services, enhance professional behavior in the workplace, and advance individuals in growing their healthcare career. An advisory group of community healthcare providers, workforce investment boards, and community members will help to identify resources to support and assist participants in overcoming barriers to completion, and monitor curriculum and job placement activities.

R-AHEC’s project will work in five counties during the grant year: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara.