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1st graduates of Berks Tec Centro Phlebotomy Program Honored

The students completed the 15-week program that included 100 hours of classroom instruction followed by training in a clinical setting.

Nine students became the first graduates of the phlebotomy program that was launched by Berks Latino Workforce Development Corp., the nonprofit’s second allied health program provided in partnership with Reading Area Community College.

The 15-week program includes 100 hours of classroom and lab instruction and concludes with an 80-hour externship in a clinical setting, said Violet Emory, executive director of the agency, also known as Berks Tec Centro, in Reading.

The program covers the following areas of study: medical terminology; laboratory testing; policies and procedures in maintaining laboratory safety and infection control; and proper methods of requisitioning, specimen transport, and specimen processing.

Classroom instruction began in January at Berks Tec Centro’s facility at 450 S. Sixth St. and concluded in April, after which the students worked at their clinical training sites, Emory said.

Students graduating from the phlebotomy program are prepared to take the National Health Career Association Phlebotomy Technician certification examination.

The graduation ceremony Friday was held at Berks Tec Centro.

The organization launched its first allied health program last year in partnership with RACC. Ten students completed the inaugural nurse aide class, providing them with basic skills to provide care to patients, residents, and clients in a long-term care facility.

Berks Tec Centro nurse aide program graduates are prepared to take the nurse aide certification examination administered through the Department of Education.

Emory said United Way of Berks County has provided the major funding for Berks Tec Centro’s allied health program initiative. KeyBank sponsored the inaugural phlebotomy class.

A health careers job fair immediately followed graduation with representatives of Penn State Health and Tower Health taking applications for those who were already offered jobs at the sites of their clinical training.

The next allied health program will train people to be medical assistants, Emory said.

“We’re excited about that,” she said. “It will be the last allied health program we’re phasing in with RACC for the foreseeable future.”

The organization’s major upcoming focus will be in the areas of trades and culinary arts, helping to fill a need in the business community. The organization has also partnered with other organizations to provide other bilingual education and skills training in Reading.

BLWDC is preparing to launch a culinary arts program in the fall and phase in commercial and industrial plumbing and electrical beginning in 2024, Emory said.

The original article can be found in The Reading Eagle.