Detroit partnership trains people for patient-care jobs

Candice Williams

Detroiters interested in the health care field will have access to entry-level training and job openings through a new initiative city officials announced Thursday.

During the next 12 months, Focus: HOPE and Oakland University School of Nursing Continuing Education will provide training to 240 residents for jobs as patient sitters and patient-care associates.

The newly trained health care workers will then have a chance to apply for jobs with the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System and St. John Providence, officials said. Each health care system has partnered with the city of Detroit to develop the training program.

“We want people who love people,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan during a news conference Thursday at Focus: HOPE. “That’s who should be applying for these jobs. These are very intense human interaction jobs. ... We’re hiring 240 people in the next year and we’d love to have you.”

The patient-sitter program is a three- to four-week course that includes training in medical terminology, infection control and basic life support, officials said.

The patient-care associate program is a seven- to eight-week course that includes the patient-sitter curriculum in addition to vital signs, patient hygiene, and diet and nutrition.

Class enrollment will be open through the first week in May and graduates will interview for positions when they complete the program.

According to industry standards, the pay for a patient sitter is about $11-$12 an hour, while a patient-care associate can earn $11-$18 an hour.

The educational requirements for the program are a high school diploma or GED, officials said. There is a criminal background check and drug screening.

Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, said there is a need for the program. The health system employs 28,000, many of whom live in Detroit, he said.

“We clearly know that there are many Detroiters who have obstacles and barriers to employment,” Lassiter said. “We also know that we have the problem of at times not having enough people in the pipeline to fill the roles ... . We are very excited to do something together.”

Angela Floyd, a registered nurse in Henry Ford Hospital’s medical intensive care unit, said she began her career eight years ago as a patient-care technician. She wishes a program like the one being offered was around when she started.

“I think the program that they’re offering here is an amazing initiative for Detroit residents who have even a remote interest in health care,” she said. “It’s a way to get your foot in the door and get the training that you need and experience.”

Detroit at Work

Patient Sitter and Patient Care Associate training

To register, visit one of three career centers: 5555 Conner, 18100 Meyers and 9301 Michigan Ave.