Commitment to Workforce Development

Southcentral Foundation recognizes that engaged employees are committed to their employers; that when employees are committed, money is saved; and that when money is saved, more funds are available for services to improve the lives of customer-owners. With this understanding, SCF consistently focuses on creating and maintaining a high-performance environment that engages its workforce.

An engaged workforce is one where employees care about their work because they feel an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. These employees feel they are performing meaningful work; have clear direction and accountability; and operate in a safe, cooperative work environment.

To build a workforce capable of performing at levels worthy of receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award twice, SCF supports growth and development through workforce planning. In addition to a vast array of educational opportunities and benefits provided to employees, various vocational programs are also in place to help support corporate objectives. Each of these programs is designed to build a stronger workforce by creating opportunities for successful participants to either advance within the system, or become full-time employees at SCF.

In 2001, inspired by the accomplishments of another Baldrige recipient, SCF took a closer look at opportunities for expanding employee training programs. SCF recognizes that the best leaders are built from the ground up — as was the case with SCF President/CEO Dr. Katherine Gottlieb. In support of this, the Administrative Support Training Program was developed. This on-boarding program is designed to improve retention in frontline positions, and provides both training in customer service skills and future growth opportunities for participants.

In an effort to increase the percentage of Alaska Native and American Indian employees in clinical positions, the Certified Medical Assistant Student Scholarship Program was developed. Students attend classes at Alaska Career College, work on-site with supervisors to practice classroom learning on-the-job, and rotate and shadow various clinics. Upon completion of all program requirements, they become certified medical assistants.

The Executive Leadership Experience was created for emerging leaders. It is a two-year program designed to provide hands-on experience and expose participants to the complexity, responsibility, and visibility that accompanies executive leadership. The program reinforces leadership philosophies and creates a plan for succession.

SCF has found that identifying potential employees before they enter the workforce and shaping their first professional experiences can also be beneficial to building an organization with a strong corporate culture. RAISE, an internship program for 14 – 19 year olds, exposes students to health-related careers and expectations of the workplace, while supporting personal and professional development. Many students commit to this program until they graduate and then transition to full-time employment.

The Dental Assistant Technology Program provides another growth opportunity, specifically for Alaska Native and American Indian people who are interested in advancing in the dental profession. In addition to technical training, the program stresses skills such as critical thinking and job readiness, and program graduates are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board exam to become certified dental assistants.

Creating opportunity for employment is one of the focuses of the Native Men’s Wellness Program. The program aids in developing participants’ technical skills and provides job-search assistance in support of its efforts to positively influence the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of participants’ lives.

The most recent addition to SCF’s catalog of training and growth programs is the Tribal Doctor Training Program, an opportunity designed for employees who want to gain an understanding of the traditional healing ways of Alaska Native cultures. This program is structured to take participants from trainee, to intern, to apprentice, and eventually, to Tribal doctor.

Each of these programs was deliberately conceived to foster high performance; align with SCF’s goals by supporting the corporate objective to increase the number of Alaska Native employees in all job categories; and help ensure SCF’s short- and long-term success. They represent some of the ways SCF commits to engaging its workforce, affirmed by the longevity of employees who uphold SCF’s values and bring our vision and mission to life.

For more information about the programs mentioned in this article, visit southcentralfoundation.com.

by Nikki Moss

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