Baptist Hospitals honored at Texas Workforce Conference, along with Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas

Seated from left are Anna Tanton, Southeast Texas Workforce Development board member; Marilyn Smith, executive director, Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas; April Keith, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas human resources director; and Dana Willis and Lois Cornwell, Workforce Solutions Center staff. Standing from left are Pam Wise, Workforce Solutions Center; Harold Whitfield, Southeast Texas Workforce Development board member; and Imogene Chargois and Greg Steward, Workforce Solutions Center

Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas received the Employer Award at the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) 19th Annual Texas Workforce Conference held Nov. 18-20 in Dallas. The Employer Award of Excellence honors employers that are actively involved with their local workforce board and have made a positive impact on employers, workers and the community.

“Baptist Hospitals is humbled and honored to be recognized by Texas Workforce as the Employer of Excellence for the Southeast Texas region,” said April Keith, director of human resources for Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas. “We are proud of our work with TWC that has helped put people in our community back to work, while allowing us to grow our behavioral health services by filling key positions through the On the Job Training Program.”

“We are excited and privileged to have Baptist Hospitalsf of Southeast Texas as our Local Employer of Excellence for 2015,” added Marilyn Smith, executive director of Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas. “Baptist, through effective collaboration and partnership with our workforce development system, stood out as a company willing to take innovative steps to solve a human resource need and to continue to provide leading healthcare services and programs to the community. Baptist Hospitals, through its Behavioral Center expansion, created the only facility between Houston and New Orleans that provides assistance and solutions, through inpatient and outpatient care, to individuals and families struggling to overcome psychiatric and chemical dependency issues. The HR department partnered with Workforce Solutions staff to implement On-the-Job Training for newly hired technicians for the expanded center at Baptist. Workforce center staff assisted the hospital with recruiting, prescreening, and developing OJT for newly hired employees that included veterans, TANF recipients, and unemployment insurance claimants.”

To meet the training needs for its expanding workforce, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas implemented an on-the-job training (OJT) for new employees. OJT enables the hospital to hire individuals with basic entry-level skills for psychiatric patient care. The comprehensive training program improved healthcare technician skills, creating numerous career advancement opportunities within the healthcare field. The program also provided several underemployed individuals the opportunity to gain employment with the hospital. Once employed, the OJT program provided a pathway to upgrade their skills and retain employment.

Initial interviews with more than 20 candidates were conducted in March 2015, Keith said, and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas was able to hire more than a dozen individuals in that group.

“OJT participants obtain clinical training and education specific to the behavioral health setting,” she said. “The training is tailored to the skills and abilities of the participant.”

Through the program, TWC will reimburse up to 50 percent of the training and orientation costs per participant, Keith said.

“We saw an opportunity to partner with Texas Workforce Solutions to address workforce development needs in the region and provide expanded health services for the Southeast Texas community,” Keith said. “It has been a win-win for both of us. Through collaboration and leadership, we’ve worked closely with TWC to identify and train individuals to work in the healthcare setting in order to meet these goals. Our local Workforce Solutions team has been tremendously helpful in making this program a success, and we hope to continue this partnership in the future as we look for new ways to continue serving the community’s healthcare needs.”

Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas recognized for outstanding board performance

Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas received two $30,000 Performance Incentive awards for Claimant Reemployment and Workforce Investment Act Youth Preparedness. TWC Performance Incentive awards recognize boards that display increased accountability and improved efficiencies.

“The Performance Awards from the Texas Workforce Commission affirms the board’s efforts to effectively administer and manage the funds we receive for workforce services for employers and job seekers in Southeast Texas,” Smith said. “Our board members are committed to providing the highest level of service delivery, through ongoing strategic planning, oversight and management of the local workforce system. Receiving the Performance Awards for Claimant Reemployment and Workforce Investment Act Youth Preparedness are the results of board member and staff dedication to ensuring the highest return on investment for workforce development funding.”

Monetary awards for achievement in these categories will be used to enhance workforce service programs during the next year, Smith said.

“The monies received through the performance awards will enable Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas to continue to create and implement effective service delivery strategies, new procedural approaches, and customized staff development in our workforce centers,” Smith said. “Staff development and training will help staff continue to provide a high level of support and services, through innovative approaches, for funded programs, such as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Contracted Child Care Services, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”

TWC, through legislation, sets program performance standards and targets for each of the 28 workforce boards in the state, Smith said. Boards are divided into groups – large, medium, and small – based on the amount of funding allocation received, the local economy and demographic conditions.

“Boards are required to meet fiscal standards and comply with regulations for administration of grants,” Smith said. “Performance targets are tracked monthly by TWC. Southeast Texas continually works with its contractor to manage positive results and produce high performance achievement. At the end of the contract year, TWC collects all performance activity and ranks boards accordingly. The top performing board in each category is selected to receive award recognition.”

The Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas Board is a business-led group of volunteers that evaluates and oversees the delivery of all workforce training and employment services in Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties.

Workforce development in Southeast Texas has been recognized by the Texas Workforce Commission with several performance awards. Since 2010, Southeast Texas has received over $250,000 for exceptional performance achievement, according to Smith.

“Each year, we recognize exceptional Texas employers for their investments in our state and share their achievements reached through strong workforce partnerships with local workforce boards and other stakeholders,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “It is our hope that these success stories may serve to inspire new achievements next year. I commend and thank these outstanding employers and workforce professionals for their leadership and contributions to their region.”