The Health Care Sector Grant is a $4.9 million, 3.5 year grant to DOL with the goal of increasing the supply and employment of credentialed health care workers in high-demand oppucpations, specificaully certifed nursing assistants, credentialed health care workers in high-demand occupations, specifically certified nursing assistants (CNAs), skilled nurses and allied health professionals.

As of June 30, 2013, the end of the grant, the overall target of training 400 people had been greatly surpassed, with 1035 trainees enrolled under the grantor 259% of the original goal. Those trained included: clinical instructors, allied health professionals, associate and bachelor degree nurses, medical interpreters, Certified Nursing Assistants and 6 foreign trained physicians were provided assistance to pursue a Maine license.  

Of those trained:

  • 417 were placed in jobs
  • 876 healthcare credentials were earned
  • $3.50/hour wage increase for incumbent workers who received training
  • $12.14/hour was the average starting wage for those unemployed workers who found jobs, and
  • $4,104,751 in additional resources were leveraged for the grant

As of September 2012, 685 individuals were currently enrolled in training, exceeding the original goal of 400  by 71%.  It is anticipated that by the end of the grant period in February 2013, close to 800 people will have been trained with support from this grant. 

More data about the grant is provided in the Health Care Grant Project Update June 2013

Many of the people trained under this grant have  been part of some special projects or collaborations between employers and educational programs to address specific workforce needs.  Here are highlights of a few of those collaborations:

CNA Elder Care Specialist Program - A collaboration between St. Mary's Hospital and Central Maine Community College designed to give incumbent CNAs additional skills and confidence within their scope of practice.

Nurse Apprenticeship Program - An arrangement between Maine General Hospital and the Maine Apprenticeship Program that focuses on expanding the clinical skills of existing nurses to prepare them to work in speciality areas.

Advanced Pharmacy Technician Program - A new program at Kennebec Valley Community College to meet the high demand for pharmacy technicians. 

Train the Trainer Program - Husson University has provided several of these workshops across the state that are designed to enhance the teaching capabilites of nurse educators using simulation equipment.

Health Information Technology Pathway - Bangor Adult Education and the Bangor CareerCenter have come together to develop a program that would provide individuals the HIT skills necessary to obtain entry level positions in the HIT field. 

Nurse Residency Project -  Mid Coast Hospital has developed a nurse residency program that is an enhanced orientation and training for new nurse grads that is designed to prepare them to work in speciality areas and decrease the attrition of new nurse graduates from the workforce.

Nurse Educator Certificate Program - Maine Medical Center and the University of Southern Maine have developed a pilot program to provide experienced nurses the tools they need to be successful clinical nurse instructors.

ICD 10 Training - Calais Regional Hospital has a program to train staff in new methods that will be required to implement the new coding system.

Dental Assistant Program -  Working with dentists in Aroostook County, Northern Maine Community College has a pilot project to train dental assistants and to prepare them to sit for certification through the Dental Assisting National Board.

Clinical Expansion Software - The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Partners in Nursing Education and Practice project and Maine Medical Center have developed a customized clinical software that could greatly expand the number of clinical placements available to nursing students.  28 hospitals and all of Maine's nursing schools are participating in this project.

For more information about these and other projects supported by the Healthcare Sector Grant check out:

Preliminary Overview and Summary of Projects Report

One Person's Success Story - Diane Stevens, CNA

"I am a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at a Neuro Healthcare Center in Kennebunk, Maine.  My husband and I reside in Lyman and we have 2 children. CNA's provide basic patient care under the direction of a nursing staff.

I am 55 years of age. I utilized the State Health Care Grant to receive a Certificate as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I applied for the grant and was accepted to attend classes at Massabesic Center for Adult Learning in Waterboro....My courses included doing clinicals which I had the opportunity to learn at a facility in Saco.  When I completed my classes; I received a Certificate completing 120 class hours and 75 clincal hours toward the CNA Program.

The grant paid for my tuition cost of my class, assisted me with supportive services such as traveling expenses, supplies and uniforms. 

I am presently employed at a Neuro Healthcare Center in Kennebunk as a CNA and truly find my profession rewarding. I enjoy helping people and making a difference in someone's life. My job is assiting individuals with activities of daily living. My passion is working with people and making them laugh and feel good about them self.  At the end of my working day I feel that I have made a difference in someone's life and feel rewarded with the kind of work that I do. 

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to broaden my healthcare opportunities with the assistance of the Maine State Healthcare Grant.  My employment goal is to work with brain injured or dementia consumers and the grant was able to make this all possible.  It is my hope that this healthcare grant program stays operational.

I want anyone that is considering or has the need for monetary help with cost of classes, uniforms, gas mileage to know that this grant was not income based and is available to all persons looking to better themselves through schooling. It is because of this grant and my family support throughout the CNA course that I am able to fulfill my employment goal in such a rewarding field.  It is hard work, but so are the rewards at the end of the day. 

Getting this CNA certificate has opened many doors within the healthcare field. I can work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers or home care.  The hard work is well worth it."

Diane Stevens
Certified as a Certified Nursing Assistant
Massabesic Center for Adult learning Waterboro


For more specific information about the grant go to: Maine Health Care Sector Grant.