Harrisburg, Pa. (WHTM) — The workforce shortage has been especially hard on groups and organizations that help the under-served. It has forced employers to rethink how they recruit and retain employees.

“The model that existed 3 years ago, it’s just not going to work, so we have to continue to think differently as we possibly can, outside the box,” said Ruth Robbins.

Robbins is the Chief Program Officer at the Community Progress Council (CPC) of York County. CPC helps low-income individuals and families become self-sufficient. It has several programs that help the community, but right now CPC also has several job openings it needs to fill.

“It is somewhat dire. We need more people,” said Robbins.

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To be competitive in attracting new teachers for its Head Start programs, CPC developed something new.

“We got some funding from the PNC Foundation to help us with an apprentice program,” said Robbins.

While they are looking for experienced teachers, Robbins says the apprentice program would be a perfect fit for someone with a high school diploma who loves children.

“We can bring people in that have very limited experience and have them be an extra person in the classroom for a period of time and train them along the way. We can also get them the education that they need and then they continue on a path where they can start as an assistant teacher and move up to a teacher,” said Robbins.

Community health centers across the state are also facing staffing shortages.

“The competition for staff has become very intense. Many of our health centers struggle just as much with medical assistants, community health workers, dental assistants those really critical front line jobs that you just can’t operate a health center without,” said Judd Mellinger-Blouch, Director, Pennsylvania Primary Care Career Center.

The Pennsylvania Primary Care Career Center is a non-profit that recruits staff for community health centers across Pennsylvania, including the midstate.

“Sadler Health Center in Carlisle and Perry County, Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg and Perry County, Family First Health in York and Adams counties, Keystone Health Center in Chambersburg and Union Community Care in Lancaster and Lebanon areas, they all have job openings,” said Mellinger-Blouch.

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In an effort to attract more applicants, federal grant money is being divided among all the health centers to provide on site training.

“They would get trained as a medical assistant or a community health worker on site and there are a variety of programs available that health centers can implement to train these folks right on site and move them right over to these jobs and hopefully retain them,” said Mellinger-Blouch.

They are also trying to get more high school graduates to think about a career in the medical field.

“It’s going to change their life because they are coming into a place where they got great benefits, good pay, a great work environment,” said Mellinger-Blouch.