Project HELP services available at Saint Francis

Grand Island, Neb. — Would you like to become a healthcare professional? Are you thinking about going back to school to get a higher-paying job in healthcare? Saint Francis Medical Center can lend a helping hand through its participation with Project HELP.

The Health Education Laddering Program (Project HELP) is a grant-funded program at Central Community College designed to remove barriers for low-income residents who wish to gain the training and skill-sets to qualify for better-paying positions in the health-care field. Saint Francis Medical Center is partner with Central Community College on this project.

Occupations include:

  • Nursing Assistant
  • Medication Aide
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Health Information Management Services
  • Emergency Medical Technicians/Paramedicine
  • Medical Interpreting
  • Occupational Therapy Assistance
  • Nursing — RN

Part of the grant for Project HELP is partnering with community hospitals. Saint Francis Medical Center has mentors who will assist and advise participants. The program is designed not only to help the patients and the hospital, but will aid with the retention of new staff.

Project HELP can provide individualized case-management services, helping students gain access to valuable community resources and assistance to overcome barriers that could potentially interfere with a student’s academic success. Students are encouraged to “ladder” up to the next level in their chosen field.

At Saint Francis Medical Center, the Project HELP case manager is Misty Peterson from Central Community College. Peterson is at Saint Francis from 9 a.m.-noon each Tuesday and is located in the Educational Services department where she is available to visit with you about how you can turn your dreams into a reality. She also will make certain that participants qualify for the program. Household incomes must be below 300 percent of the poverty level for individuals to qualify.

“We’re just basically trying to help them obtain any skills or services,” Peterson said. “Anything to remove barriers to help them meet their basic needs and help them be successful with the education process.”

Services available include:

  • Monthly management services. Case managers serve as an advocate and mentor to answer questions, reduce educational barriers, etc.
  • Referrals to community resources.
  • Tutoring services for participants through Student Success Center.
  • Laptop access for studying, accessing TANF materials and applications as well as job search, etc.?Scholarship opportunities.
  • Utilization of Nebraska Career Connections web tool and Intro to Health Science Training.
  • Basic Education and ESL tutoring through Adult Basic Ed and Project HELP staff.
  • Basic job interview preparation and job opening information through Project HELP and the career services offices at Central Community College (CCC).

Saint Francis also pays up to $3,000 in tuition per calendar year for full-time employees and $1,500 per calendar year for part-time employees who take undergraduate classes related to their career development at the hospital.

“We’re basically trying to provide an opportunity for anyone who comes into the hospital to job-shadowing or wants to know more about the health-care profession,” said Bill Brennan, Saint Francis Grant Development coordinator. “Basically, this provides the opportunity — particularly if they qualify — to help individuals get where they want to be.

“They might be in a position where they can watch a nurse or CNA work up-close with a patient and really get an idea of what their profession is, understand it and make sure that’s what they want to do.”

For more information, contact Peterson via e-mail at mistypeterson@cccneb.edu or call 1-877-222-0780, Ext. 7950 or (308) 398-7950.

About Saint Francis Medical Center

Saint Francis Medical Center is a nonprofit faith-based hospital serving Central Nebraska with state-of-the-art healthcare services. A new patient tower was completed in 2007 with 159 acute-care patient rooms, including the Family Birthing Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit and a 10-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Saint Francis also operates a Cancer Treatment Center in Grand Island and Hastings, a Skilled Care Unit and an alcohol and drug treatment center.

About Catholic Health Initiatives

Saint Francis Medical Center is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies. In fiscal year 2011, CHI provided more than $612 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. With annual operating revenues of approximately $9.6 billion, CHI is the nation's third-largest Catholic health care system.