Clearfield County Career & Technology Center and Penn Highlands Healthcare Forge Partnership

Left to right is Tonya Saggese, CCCTC Director of Practical Nursing; Fred Redden, CCCTC Executive Director; and Amber Weis, PHR, SHRM-CP, Assistant Vice President, Physician Network for Penn Highlands Healthcare.

Penn Highlands Healthcare announced it will help expand the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center’s (CCCTC) Practical Nursing Program by sponsoring tuition for select students who sign an employment agreement. With the employment agreement, employees have the option of working at one of the many Penn Highlands Healthcare hospitals, outpatient facilities and physician practices in Northwestern/Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Penn Highlands will fund tuition for qualified students enrolled in the full-time or part-time Practical Nursing program, through a partnership intended to address a regional shortage in nursing. In exchange, qualified students enrolled in CCCTC’s Practical Nursing program will sign an employment agreement that includes a full-time benefit package with the health system. Penn Highlands Healthcare will also sponsor tuition for students currently enrolled in CCCTC’s Practical Nursing program who sign an employment agreement.

“Teaming with Penn Highlands Healthcare, to educate future Licensed Practical Nurses, is an opportunity that everyone needs to check out,” said Fred Redden, CCCTC Executive Director. “An education at potentially no cost, with opportunities to transition into introductory positions while attending school, is that break that some people need.  A chance for an education to a new career all within one year.  We take pride in providing Big Steps to Big Futures and our newest partnership with Penn Highlands is another great local opportunity.”   

Amber Weis, PHR, SHRM-CP, Assistant Vice President, Physician Network for Penn Highlands Healthcare, shares Mr. Redden’s enthusiasm.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity together with the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center. This is beneficial for both the students seeking careers in nursing as well as for our health system. They will receive an excellent education from one of the region’s best technical schools along with a seamless transition into the workforce and we will gain highly qualified nurses to provide care to our patients and communities.”

According to Ms. Weis, there is a great shortage of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nurses Aids (CNAs).

“We have openings to fill 60-70 LPN and 35-40 CNA positions across our health system. It is important to note that Penn Highlands Healthcare offers outstanding opportunities for advancement from LPN to RN, with additional tuition assistance.”

Practical Nursing is a high-priority occupation in the North Central and Northwest Workforce Development Areas, according the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Center for Workforce Information & Analysis. The North Central Workforce Development Area includes Clearfield, Elk and Jefferson counties and the Northwest Workforce Development Area, Clarion County.

A 9% increase in jobs is expected through 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics.

To learn more about this opportunity, the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center will be hosting an Open House with Penn Highlands Healthcare on October 27, 2022, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the CCCTC located at 1620 River Road in Clearfield.

For additional information about the Penn Highlands Healthcare’s tuition sponsorship and employment agreement, contact the Practical Nursing program at 814-765-4047. 

Penn Highlands Healthcare was officially formed in 2011, and is comprised of eight hospitals – Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield, Penn Highlands Connellsville, Penn Highlands DuBois, Penn Highlands Elk, Penn Highlands Huntingdon, Penn Highlands Mon Valley and Penn Highlands Tyrone — that have served area communities for the past 100+ years. Its business continuum also includes home care agencies, long-term care facilities and residential senior living communities, as well as durable medical equipment companies and retail pharmacies.

Penn Highlands Healthcare has evolved into an organization with 6,651 workers in 150+ locations throughout 39 counties in Northwestern/Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania that include community medical buildings, outpatient facilities, surgery centers and physician practices. The facilities have a total of 1,498 inpatient, skilled nursing and personal care beds.  The system, which has 827 physicians and 405 advanced practice providers on staff, offers a wide range of care and treatments with specialty units for cancer, cardiovascular/thoracic, neurosurgery, pulmonology, neonatal and high-risk pregnancy patients. Being focused on what is important – patients and families – makes Penn Highlands Healthcare the best choice in the region.