Clark College News and Events

Graphic–Clark College News and Events

Clark College News and Events

June 16, 2008
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing



The $191,000 job skills grant will provide customized training for
90 staff members from five Clark County healthcare providers.


VANCOUVER, Wash. – In business, 15 minutes can save dollars.  In healthcare, 15 minutes can save a life. 

A new job skills grant received by Clark College will provide both of those benefits to regional healthcare providers and, in turn, residents of Southwest Washington. 

Clark College’s Corporate Education unit has received a $191,000 Job Skills Program (JSP) grant to provide customized training for approximately 90 personnel from five Clark County healthcare providers. The consortium includes Southwest Washington Medical Center, Vancouver Radiologists, P.C., Lifeline Connections, Columbia River Mental Health and Northwest Cancer Specialists.  

S. Brian Lindsay, Executive Director of Vancouver Radiologists, PC noted that “The similarities between a healthcare provider and a manufacturing firm may not always be obvious, but there is a lot we can learn from other industries because we all rely on complex processes to serve our customers.” 

Southwest Washington Medical Center (SWMC) took part in lean healthcare training earlier this year.  SWMC officials are looking forward to the next round of training.  SWMC Care Management & Continuous Improvement Director Dana Webb said, “By reducing or eliminating wasted time, money and energy, we become more efficient, effective and responsive to our patients’ needs.”


Lynn Samuels, Chief Executive Officer of Lifeline Connections, added, “Any process improvements that we can make will mean more and better services for our community.”

The grant will provide onsite Lean and Six Sigma training.  Lean Six Sigma training focuses on customers and what they value.  Using lean healthcare principles, healthcare providers look for ways to streamline their business operations, work more efficiently and enhance patient care. 

About the training

The 224-hour curriculum will be broken down into four program areas. Two will be delivered onsite for each of healthcare providers and two will be delivered at the college.   The program will begin by introducing workers to the concept of process improvement and how it can benefit their organizations.  A separate Six Sigma Black Belt certification program and Train the Trainer program will be offered at the college over a five-month period. Each company will finish the project with a five-day Kaizen/Rapid Improvement Workshop that will be offered at each provider’s facility. The entire program will take approximately nine months to complete.

SWMC’s Dana Webb said their initial training had enabled them to develop a new “Admission Team” concept design, which moves patients from the Emergency Department to the inpatient units and builds patient safety into the process.   Webb said, “Reducing this work allows our inpatient nursing staff to accomplish tasks that are more satisfying to them – direct patient care–improving our services and increasing the job satisfaction of our staff members.”

After reviewing a number of models and applying what they had learned from their training, SWMC’s “Care Management Patient Focused” Kaizen team developed a new department staffing model.  According to Webb, the new model “streamlines our processes and minimizes the number of times that patients are shifted from one staff member to another, which means we can provide the highest quality of patient care and improve the outcome for our patients.”  

About the grant

According to Todd Oldham, Executive Director of Corporate and Continuing Education, "This is the second ‘lean for healthcare’ grant that the college has received.  It’s very gratifying to receive this continuing support for our efforts to expand our training and support the workforce development needs of our regional healthcare organizations.”  Oldham added, “We’re especially excited because this grant will help us build for the future by creating a Lean Six Sigma curriculum at the college.”

About the Job Skills Program (JSP)

TheJob Skills Program (JSP) is a commitment by the state of Washington to extend its education and training resources so that Washington employers will be provided with a well-trained and skilled workforce. Through dollar-for-dollar matching grants, the Job Skills Program (JSP) funds industry-education partnerships to deliver customized, short-term and job-specific training. The program supports skill training or education that is separate from and in addition to existing workforce education programs.  Each year, the 34 community and technical colleges within Washington compete for the funds available.


EDITORS’ NOTE:  The following terms are referenced in the release above. 


Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare

Lean Six Sigma for Healthcare is a methodology that is driven by what is valued by the customer, identifies waste, standardizes processes and the physical environment, and encourages a culture of continuous improvement or “Kaizen.”  This process of continuous improvement over time will increase the skills of the workforce in making workflow more efficient and more thoughtful as to the minimization of wasteful steps and unneeded procedures.


Six Sigma Black Belt

A highly interactive program that follows the classic Six Sigma Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) process improvement cycle and covers the American Society for Quality (ASQ) recommended Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge. Deep theoretical knowledge is combined with substantial practical experience, state-of-the-art software, in-class exercises and activity-based workshops. Classroom training sessions are interspersed with periods of work on actual company-supported process improvement projects.


Train the Trainer

Participants learn how to present and communicate topics to adult audiences. Training includes adult learning styles, cultural and generational differences as they relate to learning and the art of giving effective feedback and conducting evaluations.

Kaizen Event/ Rapid Improvement Workshop

The Kaizen Event is a five-day duration "rapid improvement process" that involves a team of employees working together and applying the Lean Six Sigma methodology to improve performance of an organization-sponsored improvement project.



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