STEUBENVILLE — Leaders of Trinity Health System and Eastern Gateway Community College on Thursday reached an agreement that will allow thousands of the health care organization’s employees and their dependents to enroll in school without tuition.
Matt Grimshaw, President and CEO of Trinity; said the move will make available to nearly 2,000 full-time and part-time employees of Trinity Hospital and various medical practices, as well as approximately 3,000 dependents, regardless of location residency, additional training.
“It really allows us to cast a wider net,” said Grimshaw, who explained that the arrangement will encourage Trinity staff to continue training much-needed workers such as physician assistants, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists and pharmacy technicians.
He said it was not the first collaboration between the school and Trinity, which runs its nursing school at EGCC.
Grimshaw said he and others at Trinity would like to see staff take additional healthcare training, but noted they may also seek degrees or certifications in other areas where workers are in high demand locally. , such as commercial drivers.
He said as a result, Trinity will help keep Ohio Valley residents from leaving the area for work, supporting regional growth.
“I believe this is the start of something big,” said Grimshaw, who confirmed Trinity staff will be eligible in time for summer registration.
EGCC Chairman Michael Geoghegan said Trinity remains a major local employer, but at the height of the pandemic it had struggled to maintain staffing levels and the new incentive will help ensure that the health system has the qualified personnel necessary to meet the needs of the next 20. years.
He said among the staff who sat down to brainstorm ideas for addressing the shortage was Tracy Miller, director of EGCC’s medical assistance program.
“It is his vision that has brought us here today,” said Geoghegan.
He added that he was happy that EGCC could make education available to members of the community who otherwise could not afford it.
He said that although many university graduates find it difficult to repay their student loans in some cases because they have not been able to find work in their chosen fields, EGCC has partnered with Trinity and d others to make training financially accessible to professions in demand.