This week health care has been at the forefront of my agenda. I had the opportunity to interview Sherri Stahl, Senior Vice President, WellSpan West Region for my podcast, “30 Minutes with Mike.” It was one of the most informative interviews that I have done as Sherri provided a comprehensive overview of WellSpan’s services, planned investments throughout Franklin County, and, most importantly, their community engagement. And then earlier today, I had the privilege to participate in the ribbon cutting for the new state-of-the-art allied health building on the campus of Penn State Mont Alto.
Importance of health care for local economy’s
It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of health care on our local economy. In addition to providing high-quality employment, in 2021 it represented a $746 million economic impact across Franklin County. As you might know, WellSpan is the largest employer in Franklin County but we have other employers in need of high-quality health care workers: Keystone Health, Menno Haven, Providence Place, SpiriTrust, Shook Home and Quincy Village among others. Because Pennsylvania does not tax retirement income, the three counties of Franklin, Adams and York that border Maryland are well-known destinations for retirees seeking an affordable high-quality of life, especially those from the federal government. As we grow, there is and will continue to be an increasing need for health care workers.
And while it is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of health care on our local economy, the same can be said for the new allied health building. Facilities matter! The $13 Million investment in the allied health building will play a crucial role in the University’s efforts to attract and retain both students and faculty. I know there are those who will make the case that good instructors can teach anywhere and that facilities are somewhat inconsequential to the process of educating. While I agree that good instructors and good students can be successful in virtually any environment, having a state-of-the-art facility will make the experience better for everyone. And given the historic advances taking place in the health care industry, it is essential to have an educational facility capable of supporting those advances.
This is a segue back to the Sherri Stahl interview as she spoke to the collaboration between WellSpan and Penn State Mont Alto’s allied health program as well as the highly acclaimed nursing program offered at Wilson College and the LPN program administered by the Franklin County CareerTech. WellSpan provides the required student clinical requirements at their three local hospitals-Chambersburg, Waynesboro, and Gettysburg. As students graduate, they are inclined to accept positions within the WellSpan system. At a time when employee recruitment is the most serious challenge facing the industry, having a local talent pipeline is essential in our efforts to meet the demand.
So, I commend WellSpan and its employees for their tireless efforts in providing us with a full array of high-quality health care services and Penn State for its commitment to our future. As we all know, a healthy community is a productive community.
*To listen to the Sherri Stahl podcast, please go to the FCADC website, www.fcadc.com.