[Press Release] Staten Island Performing Provider System & Partners Get NYSDOL Approval for New Apprenticeship Programs



These new approvals are a part of a greater effort from Staten Island Performing Provider System to fill workforce gaps on Staten Island.


Staten Island, NY, APRIL, 2022 – Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) has received approval from the New York State Department of Labor for three apprenticeship programs; Community Health Worker (CHW), Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). This is the first time that these apprenticeships have been granted approval in the state of New York. These new apprenticeships are a part of a greater effort from SI PPS to fill workforce gaps on Staten Island and will streamline the process from training to employment.


The apprenticeships are a mix of classroom and on the job learning. Students who have taken the CHW, CRPA, or CNA classes can continue their education with hands-on learning experience. SI PPS has been collaborating with Brian Licata, Membership Relations Manager at Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, to expand the reach of the apprenticeship program by connecting with programs within the New York City Department of Education to introduce healthcare career paths to youth on Staten Island.


Mr. Licata added, “The SI PPS has been instrumental in helping the SI Chamber navigate the labor market material and training programs that are needed to meet the demands of the local industry.”


SI PPS has been expanding their workforce efforts since 2015. Results from a 2015 partner survey indicated unmet training and job development needs. From these results, SI PPS began to develop and offer continuing education certificate programs in conjunction with institutes of higher education. These programs include CHW, CRPA, CNA, and Home Health Aide (HHA). Some of these courses also offer a college credit component. The trainings are free for the students and open to any Staten Island resident who is eligible. As of 2021, SI PPS and participating partners have trained 95 CHWs and CRPAs, 25 CNAs and 10 HHAs. The Home Health Aide program was featured in an article published in October 2021: https://www.silive.com/news/2021/10/free-program-aims-to-tackle-home-health-care-needs-on-staten-island.html. Since then, the graduates from the Home Health Aide program obtained their Home Health Aide Certificate approved by New York State and have begun employment at SafeHarbor Healthcare Services on Staten Island.


“The workplace learning programs support participants’ entry and advancement in health care jobs, offer existing staff the ability to learn new skills and earn college credits toward a degree, and help incumbent staff adapt to new job demands,” said Joseph Conte, PhD, executive director of SI PPS. “From the organization’s perspective, these programs build hiring pipelines for recruitment needs, promote collaboration, allow for a platform to continually review, assess and modify skills training to keep the programs meaningful, and enhance collaboration among organized labor, employers and higher education to build community relationships to ensure there is staff to fill current and new job needs.”


“It’s easy to overlook what tremendous value SI PPS has brought to the community, from being able to fund critical programs and help people to being able to put people to work,” added Brahim Ardolic, MD, executive director at SIUH. “It’s one thing to do this in an environment where there’s a massive amount of federal funding, but it’s another to be able to maintain and continue this vision. We are going to see thousands of lives change in Staten Island over the next few years.”


About Staten Island Performing Provider System


In 2014, Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) formed an integrated network of medical, behavioral, and social services agencies under the New York State Department of Health Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP). Our founding goals included improving the quality of care, reducing costs and improving health outcomes for Staten Island’s Medicaid and uninsured populations. By the end of the DSRIP Program, we exceeded our goals and maintained our network to continue enhancing and refining the transformative work built in the Staten Island Community.


Today, we continue to work with our partners to improve population health outcomes, address social determinants of health, grow our network and reduce health disparities. We are dedicated to improving health equity by holding conversations with our community, creating educational and workforce opportunities for youth, and bridging connections with non-traditional service providers to meet people where they are in the community. Learn more at www.statenislandpps.org.



Staten Island PPS Receives Grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield


Staten Island, NY, MARCH, 2021 – Staten Island PPS received a $100,000 grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation as part of the Healthy Generations Program. The Healthy Generations Program focuses on targeting specific, preventable health concerns—and addressing the disparities and social determinants that affect them—to create a healthier generation of Americans. Empire is committed to investing in programs that focus on preventable health conditions while addressing disparities and social determinants of health, which is at the core of the work Staten Island PPS has achieved together with our partners over the last five years.

“At Empire, we are committed to improving the lives and health of everyone in the communities we support,” said Jennifer Kuhn, Empire Medicaid Plan President. “Through this partnership, we’ll continue to provide meaningful resources dedicated to addressing racial inequalities and health disparities that adversely impact communities of color.”

The focus of the grant is highly aligned with SI PPS population health activities – to create systemic change to better address health disparities, especially in communities of color. It will support collaborative health care by incorporating mental health into primary care services, improving access to mental health services and addressing social determinant of health needs.

The $100,000 funding from this grant will be braided into additional program support to build the capacity of our 70 partner organizations to do this work. “Our greatest strength is our comprehensive partnership network” according to Dr. Joseph Conte, Executive Director of the Staten Island PPS. He added, “Together, our work allows providers and CBOs to adjust to the changing conditions stemming from COVID-19 and mitigate the pressures on our healthcare system, while still addressing the multitudes of health crises that we faced before the virus”.

Specifically, this grant will be used to help increase screening and identification of individuals, specifically for substance use disorder, and increase referrals and access to substance use disorder treatment and services, and other behavioral health resources. Staten Island PPS will also use this grant to fund and collaborate with BIPOC led organizations to understand and address racial disparities, ensuring health care providers on Staten Island are providing culturally competent care. “SI PPS is grateful for this funding from Empire”, says Ashley Restaino, Managing Director of Strategy and Operations at SI PPS. “It will help us achieve our mission of not only improving overall health for Staten Islanders but addressing racial disparities that negatively impact BIPOC communities. We are eager to understand health equity issues from the voices of community members and use our influence in the provider community to implement positive changes.”

The activities from this program will create ongoing benefits to communities of color. It will integrate behavioral health into primary care services and help make mental health routine. Our SDoH platform will provide access to additional social resources on an ongoing basis. Cultural competency training, provided under the grant, will also support and encourage a more diverse and culturally sensitive healthcare environment.