Job opportunities are growing in the healthcare sector and New Community Workforce Development Center is ready to train job seekers looking to enter the field.
“New Community is excited to reintroduce its Certified Homemaker Home Health Aide Program, realizing this is one of the fastest growing points of entry in the healthcare field,” said Rodney Brutton, director of Workforce Development.
The 100-hour program spans five weeks, where students attend classroom lectures, clinical training and workshops for life skills and job readiness. Classes are held Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next five-week course will be offered in May.
Newark resident Mizani Drummond is currently one of 12 students enrolled in the training program, which relaunched in February. On a recent Tuesday, Drummond learned about the importance of oral hygiene from course instructor, Tejumade V. Falae, a registered nurse. Basic tasks such as brushing teeth can take on critical importance when, for instance, a hospice patient is unconscious or otherwise immobile, Falae said. She explained how a combination of saliva and mucus can build into a thick layer on a patient’s tongue and cause even more serious problems.
“You don’t want to cause any havoc to that patient,” Falae said. “Some hospice patients do turn around.”
Drummond said she learns most during the class from watching Falae’s demonstrations and then following up by practicing on the patient mannequin herself.
“She tells you what you’re doing right and doing wrong,” Drummond said. The 19-year-old said she enrolled in the course because she often attends to her older sister’s health issues—and has some know-how—but wanted to be officially certified.
Program graduates will be certified by the New Jersey Board of Nursing and licensed to work at skilled nursing facilities, home care agencies and private residences, according to Brutton. Nationally, jobs as home health aides are expected to grow 48 percent over the next decade, he said.
As baby boomers age, polls have indicated that the majority would like to be cared for in their own home, which is why demand for home health aides is expected to soar. The Homemaker Home Health Aide Program is funded in part by the City of Newark and is a partnership with the Urban League of Essex County, which refers students from their job readiness program to NCC’s home health aide course. Shamella Hughes of Newark hopes to land one of those jobs upon completing her training at NCC. However, she said she eventually wants to go back to school and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. “I like caring for people, (including) the elderly,” Hughes, 19, said.
That’s exactly the type of aspiration that Falae wants to instill in her students. She recalled working as an operating room nurse and training at a teaching hospital in her home country of Nigeria, only to start over once she arrived in the U.S. First, she gained her credentials as a home health aide, then certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse and ultimately as a registered nurse. Her own career path allows her to both encourage her students and relate to them.
“There are other areas they can grow into,” Falae said. “They can actually climb higher.” For more information, visit Workforce at 201 Bergen St. in Newark or call 973-824-6484.