Nursing or medical students walking to class on college campus
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A new partnership aims to make skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and personal care homes in Pennsylvania more competitive as employers by enabling them to offer tuition discounts to workers and their families.

The agreement between the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology allows frontline caregivers to expand their educational backgrounds and certifications with discounted tuition at the university.

“This partnership delivers a new incentive for our members to offer their employees. With employers in other sectors having the luxury of promising employment bonuses and other added benefits, long-term care providers face limitations and often struggle to compete for employment interests,” PHCA President and Chair Zach Shamberg said in a statement. “Recognizing the value of our long-term care workforce, Harrisburg University has stepped in as a partner that wants to give back to caregivers and support our members.”

Shamberg said that PHCA member organizations “are ceaselessly working to recruit and retain workers to care for our most vulnerable populations.” The state affiliate of the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living advocates for providers in skilled nursing, assisted living and personal care.

Under the partnership, long-term care workers employed by PHCA members can qualify for tuition discounts of 10% to 25% for certain healthcare-related classes, programs and certificates, including graduate programs. The benefit also extends to immediate family members, who can receive tuition discounts of up to 10% on select on-campus graduate degree programs, certificates or specified training courses provided by Harrisburg University.

The university has campuses in Harrisburg, PA, which is the Keystone State capital, and Philadelphia, as well as an online education platform. Among its more than 40 degree offerings, the university offers various programs in registered nursing and healthcare.

Eric Darr, PhD, president of Harrisburg University, said that the partnership aligns with the university’s commitment to “growing our health sciences workforce and creating pathway opportunities for our healthcare professionals to continue their education and advance in their careers.”

PHCA and Harrisburg University previously have partnered to support caregivers. In 2020, the university’s advanced manufacturing program used 3D printers to produce medical face shields to support the health of caregivers and residents.

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