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Senator Funke Announces Grant to Support Fisher's Academy for Leadership in Long Term Care

February 1, 2016

Senator Rich Funke today announced a $50,000 state grant to help support St. John Fisher College's Academy for Leadership in Long Term Care, a division of the Wegmans School of Nursing.

The Academy is our region's first and only provider of workforce development programming designed to address the skilled training and continued learning needs of workers in the long-term care related fields. Funke was joined at the announcement by Dr. Gerard Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College; Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing; and Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, associate dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing.

"As more of us live longer and our health care needs become more complex, we need a highly-skilled, highly-trained local workforce that can meet our growing demand for long-term care," said Funke. "I'm proud to have delivered this grant to support the great work being done at Fisher's innovative long-term care academy and to help provide free training to local workers in this vital field. My thanks to President Rooney and all of the stakeholders who are working together to establish our area as a national leader for excellence in long-term care."

Funke worked successfully to deliver the $50,000 New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) grant within the 2015-16 New York State Budget. The funds are intended to offset the cost of tuition for management and clinical training for local workers in the long-term care, assisted living, and home care fields. To date, the Academy has already offered three separate no-cost training sessions, serving over two dozen employees from two local long-term care facilities, as a result of the grant support. The Academy aims to serve a total of 50 individuals from 10 long-term care facilities within the grant period, which ends in June of 2016.

"Senator Funke's support has allowed this collaboration to continue to move forward by offering interprofessional training tailored to the long-term care environment presenting teamwork skills that are essential for providing quality care to residents in skilled nursing, assisted, living, and continuing care retirement communities," said President Rooney. "Through this collaboration, health care professionals in practice—who may one day work alongside our graduates—are receiving training that will benefit them as professionals and benefit their patients."

Academy for Leadership Grant Meeting

The Academy is a collaboration between the Wegmans School of Nursing and the Rochester Senior Care Alliance, a group of local long-term care facilities including Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, Jewish Senior Life, St. Ann's Community, St. John's Senior Communities, and Rochester Friendly Senior Services. The Academy provides training to build skills in leadership and management, quality and satisfaction, communication and feedback, and teambuilding and problem solving. The professional development of staff at all levels is often neglected within the long-term care fields, which has allowed the Academy to fill a defined service gap by better preparing local workers to meet a growing need for high-quality care in our region.

"I thank Senator Funke for helping us continue the important role we play in developing not only the health care workforce of the future here at the Wegmans School of Nursing, but reaching out to the workforce presently at bedside, especially those who are working with very fragile patients with major health care concerns," said Dr. Cooney Miner. "With this grant, we will continue to build upon and extend the initiatives of the Academy in our community."

As the population in our area skews older, there is increasing demand for skilled long-term care workers in a variety of hospital, center, or home care settings. According to December 2015 data from the NYSDOL, the education and health services sector employs more than 130,000 local workers and is one of the fastest-growing segments of the Finger Lakes regional economy.

President Gerard Rooney, Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dr. Kathleen Dever, Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, and Senator Rich Funke

In the photo: President Gerard Rooney, Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dr. Kathleen Dever, Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, and Senator Rich Funke