In recent years, the nurse coordinators in Atlantic Health’s four-hospital system have taken on some big new challenges requiring them to do things they weren’t taught in nursing school.
Given expanded administrative duties, they’ve had to learn how to manipulate Excel spreadsheets and make presentations to small groups using PowerPoint. And they’ve had to learn these skills in an already hectic work environment where the demands on their time keep growing.
As a progressive healthcare industry leader, Atlantic Health has given them the time to learn these new skills. And fortunately for Atlantic Health System — which includes Morristown, Overlook and Newton Medical Centers, and Goryeb Children’s Hospital — training is available from the Center for Business & Technology at the County College of Morris, courtesy of the state’s Basic Skills Workforce Training Program.
Over the past six years, seasoned adjunct professors with the state’s 19 county colleges have trained over 50,000 employees at more than 3,500 companies in a variety of essential basic skills through this program.
Lisa Kenneweg and Emily O’Brien, the two instructors assigned to teach Excel, PowerPoint and other PC skills to nurse coordinators and others at Atlantic Health,
have gotten rave reviews.
“Employees are enthusiastic about the quality of the classes,” says Amanda Raddin McGrath, coordinator with Atlantic Health’s Department of Organizational Development. “Their expectations are being met, and their questions are being answered. They want to learn more.”
Last year 220 Atlantic Health employees took classes designed to sharpen their computer skills. That number is expected to double this year, said Bob Lipka, director of customized training solutions with the County College of Morris. Over the past six years, he said, the college has trained about 3,500 employees with scores of companies through the Basic Skills program.
“We’ve tapped into a latent need,” Lipka said. “Now that companies understand what’s offered, they are coming back for more.” The Basic Skills training program, free of charge to NJ employers, is a partnership between the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the NJ Community College Consortium, and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.
Classes are offered in basic computer applications (Microsoft Windows and Office), verbal and written communications (including customer service), mathematics and measurement, and English as a second language.
This story was originally published in the September 2013 issue of New Jersey Business, the magazine of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. The author is Christopher Biddle, President of Biddle Communications & Public Relations.