Medical Assisting students work on an assignment in the PACCAR Center.Medical Assisting students from a previous cohort work in the PACCAR Center.

      The community is reaping the benefits of a partnership between Pickaway-Ross Adult Education and Adena Health System that is now in its third year.

     The Medical Assisting cohort developed from an established relationship as Adena representatives, who served on advisory committees, started visiting the Adult Education MA classes to tell students about opportunities at Adena. This led to providing interview prep and job offers.

     Three years ago, the demand for medical assistants was greater than Pickaway-Ross could fulfill. The school and health system created the customized MA program to give Adena employees an avenue to advance their careers. Any current employee can apply for the tuition-assisted program.

     Counting the nine students in the current cohort, the program will have trained 23 MAs, with additional cohorts starting in February and August.

     Megan Bella, an Organizational Development specialist at Adena, credits Pickaway-Ross with a lot of the program's success.

     "Pickaway-Ross has been an engaged and enthusiastic partner. Its support of the program has been instrumental in its success," she said.

     "MA roles are often difficult to fill because there is a higher demand for positions than there are candidates."

     Avonia Dearth, Health Programming coordinator for Adult Education, is quick to credit Adena.

     "The long-standing Adena clinical partnership has allowed our students to show their skill sets and thus, Adena has been a major employer for our Health Tech program graduates," she said. 

     "Many entry level workers want to move forward in their careers through education but may not have the availability to the necessary funds to do so. This partnership allows for Adena employees to advance their health-care careers while meeting the needs of the employer."

     After an interview process and employee review of attendance, length of employment and previous evaluations, a committee chooses candidates. If selected, candidates must sign a two-year employment contract with Adena Medical Group.

     Adult Education instructors at the PACCAR Center on the Adena campus teach the program, which was awarded an Innovative Project Award by the Ohio Talent Development Network. PACCAR is the educational hub for the health-care group and offers a virtual hospital for clinical practice. 

     "This program has allowed us to really dial in on that need (for medical assistants) and create an opportunity that benefits Adena, our caregivers and Pickaway-Ross," Megan said.