Applications are now being accepted for a free Medical Front Office Skills job training program, and spots are going quickly.
"Lee County residents currently working at low-skill, low-paying jobs who have not had an opportunity for higher education or previous job training may take advantage of this cost-free job training," said Coordinator Barbara Goins of Lee County Human Services
It is a seven-month program that will start on April 24. The class will graduate in November 2012.
Telephone interviews will be accepted through April 20, but Goins suggests calling as soon as possible if interested.
"The class is filled on a first-come, first-served basis and fills up quickly."
All applicants must be working, must provide proof of earned income, proof of high school diploma or GED, pass a basic assessment in reading, language and spelling, and pass a criminal background check, she said.
"I thought the training was excellent," said North Fort Myers resident Rebecca Russell.
She was the top graduate of the most recent round of the program, earning a Certificate of Highest Achievement.
"We had seven intense months of front office training that incorporated both EMR training and billing and coding," she said.
She said she would highly recommend the program.
The training is available through the Lee Education and Employment Program and is funded by a Community Services Block Grant.
"The federal grant gives low-income persons the opportunity to raise their income and enter a new career at the front desk of a medical facility or in medical records."
The Medical Office Skills Program will earn the participants a certificate.
Some of the specific areas to be covered in the classes include keyboarding and computer applications, medical terminology, medical office procedures, basic billing and coding, electronic medical records, HIPAA training and Heartsaver AED certification.
There also will be assistance with resumes, job search, and interview skills offered. The program won a 2001 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for employment and training and was the only county program in the United States to win a 2002 Public Service Excellence Award.
Successful applicants must have reliable transportation to the classes which are held 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday nights at High Tech Center Central, 3800 Michigan Avenue, Fort Myers. The L.E.E. Program covers all costs for tuition, books and can cover childcare cost during class hours. Many graduates said the training program changed their lives.
"It is a medical office skills program, so we're there teaching the skills to work at the front desk of a doctor's office. Graduates would be qualified to work in positions such as medical receptionist, check in/check out or medical records. These are jobs in high demand despite the economic climate," said Marti Mills, Lee County Human Services coordinator.
"Health care is one of the No. 1 industries in the state of Florida, including local areas," Mills said. "We get all kind of great success stories from graduates who feel as if they have a better ability to take care of their families and/or have been able to get off of public assistance. And they gained a general sense of self confidence."
If interested, contact Goins at 533-7902 for a telephone screening to determine eligibility.