MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - With impending closures and job cuts at Central State Hospital, officials are doing what they can to help employees who could be out of a job. The hospital is offering a free GED program to employees to gain valuable skills needed to get a job.
Big changes are coming to CHS. By the end of this year, more than 100 patients living on campus will move into community care.
"We will be transitioning them into a more inclusive setting in the community in the near future." interim regional hospital administrator Dan Howell said.
Howell says that will mean building closures and an unknown number of employees losing their jobs. CHS's future got hospital administrators asking themselves what they can to do to help the staff.
"We started looking at the employees on this campus and what skill sets they might need, whether they choose to continue to work for the state of Georgia in some capacity or they want to look for other opportunities," Howell said.
Officials realized while many of the caregivers are good at their job, they do not have a high school diploma. The hospital teamed up with Central Georgia Technical College and the president of Georgia Military College to offer a free GED program to employees.
"We wanted to make sure that the employees who are being displaced have the skills that they needed in order to find gainful employment again," Hank Griffeth with CGTC said.
Howell says so far 70 people have signed up. It is six hours a week and the program length depends on the student. The best part for employees is they are getting paid to take classes.
"The Central State Hospital administrators allowed them to take GED classes on Central State's time so they're not going to miss any pay as a result of this," Maj. Gen. (ret.) Peter Boylan, president of Georgia Military College, said.
Officials hope this program will create a better workforce and a brighter future for Central State Hospital.
The first set of students are taking an assessment test Wednesday. Hospital officials say classes could start as early as next Monday.