Schools, hospitals unite in New Milford to add health care jobs

NEW MILFORD — A team of health and education professionals and city staff are working in New Milford to promote health care as a viable career and recruit young people into the workforce.

The group, which includes the New Milford School Board, Nuvance Health and Western Connecticut State University, aims to target students and their parents to convince young people to enter the field. The goal is to add more jobs in the medical field, from certified nursing assistants to physicians, specialists and other health professionals.

The team formed after Mayor Pete Bass said the city hired Dale Krupp, owner of Community Resource Management LLC, in Hamden, as a facilitator to “bring all parties together when it comes to creating an expanded health cluster in New Milford.”

At the Dec. 12 New Milford City Council meeting, Krupp spoke about the health cluster initiative, saying the first part, which began a year ago, involved conducting research in health sciences, biotech and STEM-related fields. areas. In addition to showing the biggest growth areas in the health sciences are in health care, Krupp said the study shows all the earning opportunities in the health care professions.

The next part of the initiative, Krupp said, is to form a cluster of health care professionals. In 2022, he said, a group was formed that included professionals from Nuvance Health, regional rehabilitation centers, the New Milford Board of Education, Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and Naugatuck Valley Community College, which has campuses in Danbury and Waterbury. Nuvance Health operates seven hospitals in New York and Connecticut, including New Milford Hospital.

Over the course of the year, Krupp said the cluster held many meetings “to get to know each other and figure out a way to bring young people to their places to get training and promote health care as a good profit, a good way to make a living.” “

Cluster members came up with a series of recommendations to promote health care as a vocation. Recommendations include creating trained youth and adult workers in various areas of health care; engaging high school parents to help them understand what opportunities exist to promote health care as a career for their children; and connecting health professionals with local parents to create an outreach and student placement plan.

Among other issues discussed at the cluster meetings, most of the members felt the city needed an advocate “with boots on the ground” at City Hall, Krupp said.

He said he asked the group how the city could pay for a health advocate since it is rare for any city to have a paid employee.

“What it came down to was working hard with Pete and I and the Regional Workforce Board to find a way to have someone here,” Krupp said.

He added that the board is committed to having someone work personally with the city through City Hall, boards and commissions and local parents to promote health care as a viable workforce option for young people.

“In the end, it was really a collaborative process to get all these people talking together,” Krupp said.

Krupp’s own task of forming the group is complete, but the cluster will remain in place.

“I think they’re going to stay strong together, and I know the mayor has been on all the calls, heard all the good ideas and good feelings about wanting to work together,” he said.

Bass said that once he receives the draft of the final plan from Krupp, he plans to send it to the City Council and post the plan on the city’s website.

“It sounds like there’s good organization and the key is going to be executing those actions from here,” said council member Chris Cosgrove.

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