Craven Community College (Craven CC) has partnered with CarolinaEast Health System to offer a new Environmental Services (EVS)/Housekeeping training. The fee-waived program is free to those who register and will begin Oct. 16 at the college’s Volt Center campus in downtown New Bern.

“We are excited about this partnership with Craven Community College because hiring and retention are an ongoing challenge for us,” said David Snook, Director of Environmental Services at CarolinaEast Medical Center. “We see this as a benefit to the hospital and participants, but most importantly our patients and the community we serve.”

EVS/housekeeping technicians are often responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, and various tasks in a hospital or other healthcare setting. Their job is imperative to help maintain clean and healthy environments for patients and employees. Hospital rooms and other healthcare facilities are often occupied by people with compromised immune systems, making them more susceptible to illness and infection. As such, EVS/housekeeping technicians must be extremely meticulous and detail oriented to ensure a safe and sufficiently sterile space for patients.

In preparation for the program, a room inside the Volt Center’s kitchen facility was outfitted to replicate a CarolinaEast Medical Center hospital room. Program participants will be required to wear scrubs and gloves in order to properly simulate safety protocols as required on the job. They will receive instruction in dress code, uniform requirements, callout procedures, time management, communication skills, and working in a team environment.

“The training room provides a realistic and immersive learning experience for EVS professionals,” said Meghan Margarum, Craven CC Workforce Development Coordinator. “By creating an environment that closely resembles real patient care scenarios, EVS professionals can enhance their housekeeping and customer service skills, knowledge, and teamwork, ultimately leading to improved patient care and outcomes.”

Students will also learn about the Hazardous Communication Standard, personal protective equipment, bloodborne pathogens, and controlling exposure to contaminants and contagions, as well as the expectation of cleanliness in a sterile healthcare environment. Additionally, a focus on soft skills will ensure potential employees understand the expectations of working in the hospital environment. While this program is specific to CarolinaEast EVS, many of the skills acquired through training can also be useful in other industries and job settings.

“We see this program as an opportunity for the Environmental Services (EVS) department at the hospital to not only hire new employees who are a better fit for the organization, but to reduce turnover within the specific job role,” said Snook. “When hiring someone, we are challenged to surmise how they will perform on the job based on a 30-minute interview. We’ve found that some people are skilled at interviewing but not always skilled at performing the work, or vice versa. This program gives us the opportunity to receive feedback on applicants based on eight days of real work experience. It will also allow the applicants to determine if the job is the right fit for them.”

While no certifications or licensures are awarded, this training will provide knowledge and skills that are necessary to produce well-trained EVS staff that hospitals and healthcare facilities can trust to provide high-quality care and foster a safe and healthy environment for patients, healthcare professionals, and the broader community. All students who complete this course are guaranteed an interview with CarolinaEast Health System.

“This program can benefit students who are already working in the healthcare industry, as well as those seeking entry-level positions,” added Margarum. “The program can provide a way for existing housekeeping professionals to improve their skills and increase their chances of career advancement while also providing those entering the profession with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to secure employment opportunities.”

The program will run Monday-Thursday, Oct. 16-26, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For additional information or to register, visit cravencc.edu/housekeeping, or contact the Volt Center at 252-633-0857 or volt@cravencc.edu.

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