VA Ready Announces Pilot Program with Sentara College of Health Sciences

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Students can achieve Patient Care Technician credential totally free

“We are once again seeing how critical our healthcare workforce is to the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are excited to be working with the Sentara team to make this new offering available..." - Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready

The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a non-profit dedicated to retraining unemployed and underemployed Virginians across the Commonwealth, announced today a new educational partner that will help meet the area’s increased demand of healthcare professionals: Sentara College of Health Sciences.

As soon as January, Sentara College of Health Sciences will work with VA Ready and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) to provide no cost, 16-week Patient Care Technician training to a cohort of 40 eligible Virginians whose employment has been disrupted by Covid-19. This pilot is primarily focused on the Virginia Beach area and was made possible not only by Sentara, but also through the help of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and funding from HRWC.

“We are once again seeing how critical our healthcare workforce is to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of Virginia Ready. “We are excited to be working with the Sentara team to make this new offering available, and to be partnering with the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.”

Individuals that earn a Patient Care Technician credential are able to perform critical healthcare tasks that include drawing blood, cleaning and dressing wounds, performing electrocardiograms (EKGs), and more.

“Our healthcare heroes need all the help, big or small, they can get right now,” said Dr. Angela Taylor, Executive Director and Dean of Sentara College of Health Sciences. “We’re happy to be able to tell them that help is on the way through our partnership with the VA Ready program and look forward to the long-term impacts that this sort of partnership will have on our industry.”

“The Hampton Roads Workforce Council is committed to developing strategic workforce development solutions that support job seekers and businesses and respond to regional workforce needs, such as those in the healthcare industry,” said Shawn Avery, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.

As an added incentive, those who enroll in this or any of VA Ready’s other 34 approved credential courses are eligible to receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award upon program completion of the program. They also receive an opportunity to interview for positions with any of VA Ready’s business partners.

If you would like to learn more about the Patient Care Technician program at Sentara College of Health Sciences, please visit this link. If you have any questions about funding for training, please contact Nancy Stephens at

About the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready)
VA Ready is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization launched in June 2020 to retrain Virginians impacted by the economic hardships created by COVID-19. VA Ready's mission is to help thousands of Virginians whose employment has been disrupted by the pandemic to access the short-term training needed to get back to work in today's most in-demand jobs. With its Public-Private-Partnership design, VA Ready brings together the FastForward career training program offered by the Virginia Community College System's (VCCS) 23 colleges and more than 20 business partners who employ millions of Virginians. VA Ready Scholars have access to 34 healthcare, technology and other skilled training programs; learn the skills needed to secure one of today's most in-demand positions; receive $1,000 upon credential completion; and are connected to VA Ready's business partners for interview opportunities. Learn more at:

About Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare celebrates more than 130 years in pursuit of its mission – “we improve health every day.” Named to IBM Watson Health’s 2018 “Top 15 Health Systems,” Sentara is an integrated, not-for-profit system of 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, including a Level I trauma center, the nationally ranked Sentara Heart Hospital, two orthopedic hospitals, accredited Sentara Cancer Network and the Sentara Neurosciences Institute. The Sentara family also includes a medical group, Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance and ground medical transport, senior care, home care and hospice, nursing rehabilitation centers, ambulatory outpatient campuses, advanced imaging and diagnostic centers, a clinically integrated network, the Sentara College of Health Sciences and the Optima Health Plan and Virginia Premier Health Plan serving 858,000 members in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. With 30,000 employees and ranked one of Forbes “America’s Best Employers,” Sentara is strategically focused on clinical quality and safety, innovation and creating an extraordinary healthcare experience for our patients and members.

About Sentara College of Health Sciences
Sentara College of Health Sciences is an accredited, not-for-profit institution of higher learning that specializes in healthcare education. The college offers bachelor's and master's degrees in Nursing, associate degrees in Cardiovascular Technology and Surgical Technology, an academic certificate in Cardiac Electrophysiology, and certificates in Patient Care Technician and Monitor Surveillance. Founded in 1892, the college embraces 21st Century technology and utilizes hybrid learning or online education in all programs. An educational philosophy emphasizing hands-on, experiential learning is fundamental to all programs. In fact, most students graduate from Sentara College with about twice as many hands-on hours as students from other institutions. As a result, Sentara College students achieve consistently excellent outcomes for licensure and placement after graduation. Much more information is available at

About the Hampton Roads Workforce Council
Established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council oversees federally funded workforce development programs for South and Western Hampton Roads. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council provides strategic workforce development solutions designed to assist businesses in accessing qualified workers and job seekers in search of suitable job openings and training opportunities to bolster their earning potential.

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