Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of participant experiences in a healthcare training program for medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, and certified nursing assistants in areas beyond employment procurement or retention. During the year 2020, employment rates decreased and the cost of living increased. Those changes ultimately put lower-income populations at risk for not meeting the basic needs of life, as it became increasingly more difficult to obtain an adequately paying job. Healthcare training programs for lower income individuals allow for participants to gain the appropriate knowledge and experience required for working in the healthcare industry while also providing them necessary skills and confidence for securing and maintaining employment. While the primary objective of the Genesis Center Healthcare Training Program was to increase employment rates, this study found the program substantially contributed to participant’s lives in many ways that will contribute to their overall life satisfaction, financial well-being, and mental wellness for many years. Method: This current research adds to existing literature by utilizing a mixed methods sequential exploratory strategy that analyzes quantitative survey data (n=51) and qualitative data from phone interviews with program participants (n=19). Results: Findings from this study provide evidence that healthcare training programs for lower income populations may improve participant lives by increasing financial well-being and financial capability. Participants also reported enhanced opportunities, increased motivation, and improved mental health following participation. Conclusion: Employment programs for future allied health professionals targeting lower income populations should ensure that financial coaching and additional supports are included in their protocols. Future research on these types of training programs should include pre/post measures and ideally experimental design procedures using standardized measures for life satisfaction, financial well-being, and mental health.

Author Bio(s)

Skye N. Leedahl, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE, is Associate Professor of Aging & Health in the Human Development & Family Science Department at the University of Rhode Island. Her research interests include social integration and health for older adults, intergenerational programming, and state and community-level policy initiatives.

Emma Pascuzzi, MS, is a doctoral student in the University of Rhode Island, College of Health Sciences program with a specialization in Human Development & Family Science.

Karen McCurdy, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus in the Human Development and Family Science department at the University of Rhode Island. Her research focuses on promoting optimal child development among vulnerable families, with an emphasis on examining environmental, parental, and individual factors that influence child health outcomes.

Nilton Porto, PhD, MBA, is Associate Professor of Consumer Finance in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include financial decision-making, consumer behavior issues, and financial well-being.


Acknowledgments: We acknowledge the Genesis Center and Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training for their support and dedication to this project. Disclosure Statement: The authors report there are no competing interests to declare. Ethical Approval: We received IRB approval for this study through the university IRB committee. Funding: This work was funded by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training through the Genesis Center under grant number AWD07803.




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