Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) in southeastern Vermont has taken a proactive stance to help solve an issue facing many rural hospitals: workforce recruitment. The 61-bed hospital serves a population of approximately 55,000 people within Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Since 2014, the hospital has worked with the Community College of Vermont (CCV) as part of its College to Careers program that allows students to earn a Clinical Medical Assistant certification in 14 weeks with guaranteed employment at the hospital. BMH recently expanded its partnership with the school to include a new train-to-hire program for environmental services (EVS) staff.

The Environmental Services Certification Program is a partnership not only between BMH and CCV, but also the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL). The nine-week program is comprised of three weeks of classroom training in infection control three days per week, followed by six weeks of on-site training at BMH. The on-site work is funded by VDOL. Students can work up to 20 hours per week based on each participant’s and the hospital’s needs. The program allows up to 15 students for each session.

At its first graduation ceremony last fall, nine students were awarded their certificate and eight accepted employment at the hospital. The students were not only offered full-time, part-time or per diem employment, but many also receive CCV credits, a certificate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Governor’s Career Readiness Certificate. BMH will begin the next session in September.

The program falls under CCV’s custom solutions program, in which organizations identify unique workforce development needs for which training curricula does not yet exist in the area. 

“That’s the future,” says Steven R. Gordon, president and CEO of BMH. “We have to contribute to the pipeline as opposed to just waiting at the end of the pipeline.”