VCU Health workforce training programs helps entry-level workers begin a career in the medical field


In a typical day, Angel Glenn, a 22-year-old certified medical assistant in the VCU Health neurology department, makes sure patients get their medication refills and forms sent to the correct doctor. Her duties also include checking over patients’ referrals — ensuring they are processed correctly — and scheduling medical visits.


Angel Glenn, VCU Health neurology department certified medical assistant

Glenn always knew she would work in the medical field and took numerous science classes at Huguenot High School in Richmond. She thought she would then go to community college to become an emergency medical technician. While she knew there were a lot of jobs in the medical field, she didn’t know exactly which direction to go.

When she heard a presentation at her high school about the Pathways to Healthcare Workforce program at VCU Health, she applied to start working and earning a salary immediately.

Glenn was hired in the health system’s department of patient transportation. The program supported her through the job application process, providing training sessions focused on creating professional resumes and nailing job interviews.

“I learned a lot of new things, even in transport,” Glenn said. “It’s an entry-level job, I still learned so many things procedure-wise. We would take patients to dialysis and endoscopy. I learned what those different departments and different nurses do.”

When Glenn wanted to take the leap and apply for a job as a certified medical assistant, the Pathways to Healthcare Workforce program helped her access financial assistance through the department’s partnership with the Community College Workforce Alliance to pay for classes to master the needed skills to complete the program and certification exam.

“I had a lot of support,” Glenn said. “The leadership was very helpful. Everybody was very friendly and nice. They would help you or get the resources you needed.”

Glenn is just one of 282 young adults who have gone through one of the two VCU Health Pathways programs that help participants transition into entry-level positions, such as administrative assistant, patient transport tech, dietary aide, certified medical assistant and patient access representative, to name a few. Pathways to Healthcare Workforce aids high school students’ transition into these roles, while Pathways Connect works with adults. The programs partner with Virginia Community Colleges and CCWA to train and prepare adult participants for positions that require professional certifications, credentials and associate degrees.

Growing and supporting a new health care workforce 

The VCU Health Pathways programs aim to bridge the gaps for communities often underrepresented in health care, helping many to find employment within the health system and access higher education. The programs also implement strategies and build partnerships to improve the health of patients, including nonmedical factors such as transportation and food access.

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