SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras and Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) President and CEO Gary J. Fitzgerald have signed a partnership agreement to lower barriers to college degrees for IHA’s 54 hospitals with 300,000 employees from Buffalo to Albany through SUNY Empire State College’s Corporate and Community Partner Benefits program.
The program will also be offered to retirees, and family members.
Through the partnership, SUNY Empire will waive the registration fee and all full- and part-time matriculated students will receive a $100 Presidential Scholarship.
New students will be able to complete their associate, undergraduate, or graduate degree at any one of SUNY Empire’s 30-plus locations across New York state, online, or a combination of both using Empire’s highly flexible individualized programs built especially for busy working individuals.
IHA participants may be able to further reduce time to graduation with transfer credits from traditional colleges and universities, as well as credits earned through SUNY Empire’s one-on-one individualized Prior Learning Assessment. The process identifies college-level learning acquired through professional development, licenses, and certifications.
Officials said the healthcare industry in New York, like many others, is facing a shortage of qualified workers. By helping hospital employees advance their education, this partnership addresses specific workforce needs while helping employees achieve their own personal and professional goals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for registered nurses to grow 15 percent by 2026, faster than for most other professions.
“SUNY Empire is proud to open the doors to a quality, flexible education designed for busy working healthcare professionals to more than 300,000 employees across Upstate New York, as well as their families, and retirees through the Iroquois Healthcare Association,” said SUNY Empire State President Jim Malatras.
“SUNY Empire programs like healthcare management or healthcare leadership are ideal for healthcare workers at all levels of their career who want to take the next step and provide better care for their communities. Thank you to Mr. Fitzgerald and everyone at Iroquois Healthcare Association for recognizing and responding to the needs of your membership.”
“Hospitals and health systems in Upstate New York are often the largest employers in their respective regions,” said IHA President and CEO Gary J. Fitzgerald. “This new partnership with SUNY Empire will create opportunities for hospital employees and their families to access and enhance higher education, creating a pipeline of qualified healthcare workers desperately needed throughout Upstate New York. With over 2,000 registered nurse vacancies in hospitals alone, from Buffalo to Albany, innovative affiliations like this are integral to the future of healthcare.”
SUNY Empire corporate partners in healthcare include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital School of Radiology, CVS, ENT and Allergy Associates, Glens Falls Hospital, University of Buffalo Childcare Center, and University of Vermont Health Network.
The Iroquois Healthcare Association is a regional healthcare trade organization representing over 50 hospitals and health systems, spanning over 28,000 square miles, across 32 counties of Upstate New York. IHA is the leading resource for facilities and professionals bringing quality health care to the region.