New Director Working to Fill Need for Continuing Education for Health Care Workers
Haverhill and Lawrence, MA (October 27, 2022) – As the new Tomfohrde Executive Director of Health Care Pathways at Northern Essex Community College, Marjorie Campbell is already busy connecting students with local employers. And vice versa. Her one-year, grant-funded role is designed to map out a comprehensive health care pathway program. The program will provide health care employers with a talented and trained workforce pool while offering opportunities for those workers to continue their education and training.
“Look at it as a big circle,” says Campbell. “You have employers that need certain people to meet their needs, and you have a large community of people who want better jobs.”
Campbell, of Salisbury, comes to this role from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she oversaw the regulation of physicians and nurses and investigated complaints. She started her career as a registered nurse, working in various settings, from the E.R. to home health care. Her journey has inspired her to now help others. “I realized I have a passion for getting students trained in many health care professions and helping them to keep going with those pathways with employers.”
Campbell says she’s eager to build upon the work at Northern Essex to connect students and health care workers with continued career growth. “This pathway discussion needs to happen early. Students might not be thinking of this now, but we need to put the bug in their ear that they will keep growing, and their lives and needs will change.”
An example of this, Campbell says, would be talking to Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) students about pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing degree eventually. “If you like that field, maybe you are interested in nursing, and we can see what skills and classes you may have taken; maybe there’s something you can skip.” The exact process can apply to local health care employers who want to offer employees opportunities to continue their education and advance their careers. Some may even offer incentives, like scholarships. Campbell will be instrumental in connecting those employers with programs at Northern Essex.
The health care sector is the largest employer in the Northeast, providing more than 90,000 jobs across the region. As data from the Northeast Regional Planning Blueprint projects, the sector will continue to grow by approximately 12 percent, adding over 10,000 jobs through 2022.
Creating fully mapped-out pathways that build upon prior certificates and experience and enable upward mobility for employees can reduce recruiting, hiring, and training costs for healthcare facilities, according to Campbell.
“It’s a commitment to try and make the pathways clear, not repetitive, for students and to make this process easier and to encourage them along their way.”
A third of the students at Northern Essex are enrolled in one of the college’s 22 associate degree and certificate programs in high-demand health care fields, ranging from nursing to respiratory care to sleep technology. Most programs are located at the El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center on Common St in Lawrence. The 44,000-square-foot facility features a Health Education Simulation Center, where health care students receive hands-on experience in simulated environments such as a hospital intensive care unit, a trauma room, an acute care hospital room, an apartment, an ambulance, and a doctor’s office.
About the Tomfohrde Foundation
The Tomfohrde Foundation provided the funding for this new role. The foundation awards grants to charitable institutions, organizations, and agencies in the Greater Boston area which are dedicated to the cultural, social, and civic betterment of the community and particularly foster the advancement of higher education, the classic arts, scientific research in biomedicine and the improvement of community health. Grants awarded by the Foundation in 2022 focus on strengthening programs and offerings at Massachusetts vocational and technical schools and community colleges and increasing and promoting access to community colleges. Learn more here.