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CO Health Centers Win Grant to Bridge Employment Equity Gap

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Monday, November 1, 2021   

DENVER - Colorado's safety-net health centers are on a fast track to bring more people of color, and those living in rural areas, into good-paying health-care jobs.

Sarah Macrander, senior health center operations manager with the Colorado Community Health Network, said a new grant from SyncUp Colorado will allow health centers to develop staff that are connected to their communities and patients.

"Because we know that when people receive care from people that look like them," said Macrander, "or from the community that they live in, the care and the health outcomes improve."

The Grow Our Own initiative will give clinics tools to connect with youths from historically under-represented communities, and help them make important first steps toward health careers they may not have seen as possible.

Anyone interested in joining the program, which will initially focus on recruiting Medical Assistants, can find more information at 'MissionDrivenCareers.org.'

Nearly nine in ten new jobs in Colorado require a postsecondary degree, but just 58% of residents have a professional certificate or college degree. Two thirds of graduates also end up with significant student-loan debt.

Macrander said by teaming up with colleges and universities, students will be able to earn decent wages as they work toward a range of certificates and degrees.

"Say you're a radiology tech," said Macrander, "and you've done a certification through that, that you'll be able to apply some of those credits that you earned through that certification program to a future bachelor's degree."

Grow Our Own was one of six winning partnerships using modern apprenticeships and hybrid college approaches to increase student access to the state's fastest-growing industries that pay a living wage, including health care and construction.



Disclosure: Colorado Community Health Network contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Poverty Issues, Smoking Prevention, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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