March 26, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Addressing Health Care Shortage by Preparing New York Youth for Careers in Health Care

Serve America Act Would Help Train Youth for Careers in Nursing, Health Care Industry

Washington, D.C. - New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today supported passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to prepare New York's young adults for careers in nursing and other health care-related jobs.

On a visit to the Bronx last month, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Councilmember Joel Rivera, chair of the Health Committee, to tour the Urban Health Center and visit a home health care provider. During her visit, Senator Gillibrand announced her intention to provide opportunities for young adults in Brooklyn and the Bronx to enter careers in health care. With today's Senate passage of the Serve America Act, Senator Gillibrand made progress in providing these opportunities.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act - a bold, broad call to national service for Americans of all ages - incorporates a new Healthy Futures Corps as part of Americorps to provide opportunities to put young adults in Brooklyn and the Bronx on a path for careers in health care, giving them the opportunities they deserve and combating nursing shortages facing New York City communities.

"Too many of our communities lack adequate access to health care and our young adults can be part of the solution," Senator Gillibrand said.  "By providing the right skills and expertise to younger generations, we can prepare them for successful careers in health care and begin to address the health care crisis this country.  As a mother of two young children, I am focused on ensuring quality, affordable health care for every family."

The Healthy Futures Corps will help organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, churches and other faith-based and community organizations place low-income, high-need young adults in Brooklyn and the Bronx into service programs with health providers. This first step will help line our young adults up with careers in health care, give them long-term opportunity for a bright future, and help combat nursing shortages in New York City.

The Health Resources and Services Administration projects the nation's nursing shortage will grow to 1 million over the next decade. In New York, the nursing shortage rose more than 2 percent between 2006 and 2007 alone.  That's why it's so important to create opportunities in our communities that draw young adults into careers in health care to address these shortages and deliver care to areas in need.

Senator Gillibrand is a strong voice for comprehensive health care reform.  Last month, Senator Gillibrand worked with President Obama to provide access to basic health care for 11 million low and middle-income children by reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Senator Gillibrand voted seven times in the House of Representatives to reauthorize the CHIP.  In fact, she was the only Member of Congress to vote for the expansion in both the House and the Senate and she stood with President Obama at the White House when he signed the bill into law.