As COVID-19 spread across California, businesses that interact with the public found themselves facing new cleaning protocols and safety regulations but lacked a way to train staff quickly and consistently.
An effort spearheaded by several California Community College sectors delivers that training to workers across the state in a self-paced online format that works with their busy schedules. The Infection Control for All Now (ICAN) workforce training project was led by John Cordova, Statewide Health Director, and Joy Hermsen, Statewide Retail, Hospitality, Tourism Director, with support from Paula Hodge, ICT-DM Regional Director in the South Central Coast Region.
The ICAN program has five modules that take approximately two hours to complete. Upon completion, students receive a certificate of completion and digital badge in one of the following areas:
- Customer Service
- Culinary Service
- Engineering & Maintenance
- Contracted Service
“We listened to what the industry needed and provided them this training for the current workforce,” Cordova said. “My goal was to take what we’ve been doing in healthcare and provide it to industry professionals and create something that any entry-level worker could do.”
ICAN’s curriculum is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health. Modules cover how infections spread, how to properly use Personal Protective Equipment, best practices for employee safety, and more.
From coffee shop baristas to hotel maintenance workers, many businesses and employees did not need to think about infection mitigation before the pandemic. Cordova said he’s happy this project can help them at this critical juncture.
“We wanted to give some more context for why people were doing these things and why it’s important,” Cordova said. “People never had a reason to think about infection control before and were wondering why they suddenly had to make all these changes.”
Cordova said the ICAN setup is flexible enough to allow for new modules to be added based on industry demand. One such project already in the works is a module specifically for distribution center workers.
Hodge and the ICT-DM sector supported the ICAN rollout by making the course modules available in Canvas in a format that’s easy for students to access from any device. Hodge also worked with Badgr to create digital badges for students who complete the training.
“By combining our resources and expertise, we were able to quickly respond to a cross-sector industry need and provide an outcome of prepared workforce within a two hour commitment,” Hodge said.
For more information on ICAN, visit https://ca-hwi.org/curriculum/infection-control-for-all-now-safe-workplace/.