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Building on a unique public-private partnership established last year, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and pioneering skills training provider Penn Foster today announced the launch of a new training program for Sterile Processing Technicians, focused on equipping students with the skills to succeed in allied health careers as demand for healthcare workers accelerates throughout the region.

Allied health careers are among the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the country’s economic recovery continues, these positions also have recovered more quickly than nearly any other sector, creating renewed urgency for healthcare providers to recruit, hire, and retrain skilled workers as demand continues to increase. Labor market shifts throughout Southcentral Pennsylvania have expanded healthcare skill gaps even further, with major employers now seeking tens of thousands of workers amidst the ongoing public health crisis.

Designed to help close these talent gaps, the Sterile Processing Technician Certificate Program covers a variety of topics such as allied health careers and the building of sterile processing and sterile processing technology. Students enrolled in the program will gain an overview of allied health careers and learn about state and federal healthcare laws and regulations. They also will learn medical terminology and gain an understanding of microbiology and how pathogens can cause disease and how medical equipment is cleaned, decontaminated, and disinfected.

The program prepares students for the Certified Registered Central Service Technician exam through the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management.

“Harrisburg University is committed to meeting the workforce and training needs of our healthcare partners and we are excited to once again collaborate with Penn Foster to offer this important health career program,” said Geoffrey M. Roche, MPA, Executive Director, Strategic Healthcare Initiatives and Partnerships at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.  

After completing the certification exam, students will gain 400 hours of hands-on experience in a Sterile Processing Department. Students who complete the six-to-nine-month program will be prepared to work alongside physicians and providers, surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers at hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians and providers’ offices, and other medical facilities as a Sterile Processing Technician.

As the economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, public-private partnerships will play a critical role in meeting employers’ talent needs—and building a more equitable, resilient labor market,” said Dara Warn, Chief Customer Officer at Penn Foster. “This is about responding to the demands facing South Central Pennsylvania’s economy so that together, we can help working learners access new pathways to economic mobility in the region’s fast-growing healthcare industry.”

Designed to create onramps to healthcare careers for graduating high school seniors, current college students, and working learners, Harrisburg University and Penn Foster’s partnership programs are fully online and are rooted in a pedagogical model that prioritizes practical and career-oriented learning. Through courses that prepare students for careers as Pharmacy Technicians, Pharmacy Assistants and Medical Assistants, participants will be able to access affordable certificate programs that can prepare them for a new career.

To register for the Sterile Processing Technician Certificate Program and additional details, visit or contact Danielle Schauffert at

About Harrisburg University

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,

About Penn Foster

Penn Foster is bridging the gap between education and economic opportunity to build the workforce of tomorrow. We partner with employers to design and deliver digital and blended learning programs that attract, upskill, and retain workers in America’s fastest-growing fields and professions. With more than 40,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster helps individuals discover pathways to opportunity through accredited diploma, certificate and degree programs that matter in the world of work. For more information, visit

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