Grant-funded program helps those pursuing training, education for in-demand jobs

From left: Comisky, Williams, Wright
February 19, 2024

QUEENSBURY, New York (Feb. 19, 2024) — SUNY Adirondack is proud to announce Healthcare Pathways, a new program funded by a State University of New York (SUNY) Future of Work Centers grant that allows the college to develop career pathways and provide support to individuals pursuing careers in health care. 

Recent reports show a critical need for health care workers in the greater Capital District and Adirondacks regions. 

According to data provided by Warren County, health care is the job sector with the most openings. U.S. Department of Labor data shows the statewide need for home health and personal care aides will grow 39 percent by 2030, with more than 711,000 projected job openings.

“Given our regional data, it is crucial that we continue to strengthen the health care workforce pipeline," said Diane Wildey, associate vice president for Academic Affairs. “SUNY Adirondack is proud to expand on the legacy work of our prior Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG).” 

According to the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC), “The Capital Region’s health care industry is facing a five-alarm fire.” 

The CREDC report shows need for health care workers in the greater Adirondacks region will continue to increase as the area’s population ages. The region is on pace to be the second-oldest population in the United States by 2025. In Warren County, 22 percent of the population is older than 65 — one of the highest percentages in the state. Warren County’s median age is 46.8 years old, compared to 36.9 statewide. In Washington County, the median age is 44.2 and in Saratoga County, it’s 42.9. 

The new Healthcare Pathways program will address health care workforce shortages by establishing health care pathways through credit and non-credit instruction, providing student support, offering professional development training opportunities for health care employees and hosting events with regional health care organizations. 

To oversee the program and connect students to the grant resources, the college hired Kimberly Comisky as director, and Samantha Williams and Jeffrey Wright as program assistants. 

Support is available for participants in non-credit training or degree programs, including those pursuing careers such as certified nurse aide (CNA), home health aide (HHA), and personal care aide (PCA), or those studying Health Education, Nursing or related fields at SUNY Adirondack.

This program allows SUNY Adirondack the flexibility to offer financial support in the way of books, uniforms, gas cards and technology, as well as access to emergency funds so students can overcome barriers to completion or employment retention.

“Our team has years of experience in health and human services and are well versed in our community’s challenges,” Comisky said. “We witnessed these challenges every day and are excited to engage with students and partner with community organizations to grow health care educational opportunities.”

About the team

  • Director Kimberly Comisky is a dedicated advocate in human services with more than 20 years of experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Siena College and completed a certificate in interdisciplinary teams and health care from Boston University. She was assistant director of a caregiver support program through SUNY Plattsburgh, for which she developed a wellness and respite care system with local health care organizations.
  • Samantha Williams, program assistant, started her career as a home health aide supporting aging individuals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY Empire State University. She served as a children’s health home care manager through Northern Rivers, connecting youth with beneficial services in their communities.
  • Jeffrey Wright, program assistant, earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Husson University. He has experience in education admissions, workforce development and employment counseling. He most recently worked with Community Work, and Independence Inc. (CWI), helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure employment and providing educational support for youth transitioning to life after high school.