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There’s a new free job training/education program for Camden residents. The Cooper Health Careers Initiative (CHCI) offers the program for those looking for employment in medical coding. Training is available for high school graduates, those with GEDs, as well as those working toward one. The program is also open to current high school seniors at Camden County Technical Schools. The CHCI aims to create a seamless transition from training to a rewarding career in health care.
This initiative is part of Camden’s strategy to continue to transform the downtown area into an “Eds and Meds” corridor and bring jobs to the city. A Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors report found that of the 30,000 jobs in Camden, 40 percent come from education and medical institutions. County and state officials, hospital and college administrators came together to enact the program that is offering young people a chance to be trained and work in the city.

Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez described the initiative as “educating with a purpose.”
“Many children in the city become disenfranchised … because they can’t see where that certificate, that education, is going to take them. These young individuals know where they’re going,” said Rodriguez, a former science teacher. “As Camden’s medical institutions, and Eds and Meds corridor continues to grow, there will be a greater demand for these types of jobs creating more opportunity.”

Once enrolled, participants receive ongoing support and coaching to complete a certificate program in medical coding, approved by the American Health Information Management Association, and offered by Camden County College. Following completion of the coursework, Cooper will sponsor an internship to provide hands-on experience in the field.  Candidates who complete and graduate from the Medical Coding Program and who meet all of Cooper’s pre-employment requirements will get offered full-time, entry-level medical coding positions at Cooper.
The $12,000 cost of the training program is covered for Camden residents by public and private funding. While the CHCI offers opportunities to young people interested in a career in their city- it also benefits the hospital by addressing the shortage of medical coders, according to Cooper University Health Care CEO Adrienne Kirby. She sees it as win/win, getting the skilled labor that Cooper needs while offering their neighbors “a well-paying job with excellent benefits.”

About the Cooper Health Careers Initiative (CHCI):  Cooper University Health Care Developed the CHCI in partnership with the Camden County Board of Freeholders, Camden County Technical Schools, Camden County One Stop, Camden County College, Camden County Workforce Development Board, and Hopeworks ‘N Camden.  Hopeworks ‘N Camden and Camden County Technical Schools serve as the recruiting and administrative partners to identify qualified applicants.

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