UVA Health launches Earn While You Learn program

Outside of the UVA Medical Center (FILE)
Outside of the UVA Medical Center (FILE)
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 3:34 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you want to be an emergency or patient care technician, but don’t want to foot the bill, then the University of Virginia may have a program for you.

“We are so excited for the Earn While You Learn program,” UVA Health CEO Doctor Wendy Horton said.

The program gives people the opportunity to start working in the health field without paying for classes.

“It’s our way of making sure that we are caring for our community,” Dr. Horton said.

Pharmacy Tech Manager Veronica Desper will manage the incoming technicians. She says the program is helping to fight the strain COVID-19 is putting on staff.

“Just like every other part of health care, we’re facing staffing challenges and shortages across the pharmacy enterprise,” Desper said.

Dr. Horton says this program is designed to meet people where they are: “Earn While You Learn requires people only to have a GED or a high school degree,” she said.

Those who end up in the pipeline will learn and get paid at the same time while working toward qualifications.

“They have a job, 40 hours a week paid, and half of that time is spent in on-the-job training,” Horton said. “They’re eligible for retirement all the full-fledged benefits of a UVA health employee.”

The other half of the time spent in the program consists of free classes and studying for a certification.

Starting pay varies: a new pharmacy tech, for instance, starts at $16.25 an hour plus benefits.

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