School At Work - Catalyst Learning Company

School at Work (SAW®) is known across US healthcare as the model for training and career development of entry-level healthcare associates.
SAW sharpens key behavioral skills to optimize an employee’s performance in his/her current role and puts them on a healthcare career path.

The School At Work (SAW®) Story

Why Human Resource and Education Leaders Choose SAW

Leaders of hospitals who are tuned into all aspects of a high quality patient experience know that every associate impacts it. Entry-level employees are regularly in and out of patients’ rooms and have frequent interaction with patients and families that also extends to transporting and the cafeteria. Essential Workers have been lauded for loyalty and bravery during the pandemic. They are frequently highly ethnically diverse.

School at Work (SAW) is a comprehensive education and career planning system for a health system’s lowest paid employees. Its goal is to help these individuals move from low-skill, low wage jobs to middle-skill, family sustaining wage careers with your organization. Hospitals who strive to be the great, the destination healthcare employers, use SAW to develop the confidence, professional skills, loyalty, and upward mobility of their entry-level associates.

Since 2002, over 22,000 grads have been impacted by School at Work. Distinguish your organization as one where everyone has opportunity by joining the over 500 US hospitals who offer School at Work!


The School at Work educational curriculum is a rapid review of the essential skills of communication, grammar, reading, and writing. It also provides employees with ownership for the HCAHPS rating and introduces them to medical terminology. Your employees will gain skills necessary to improve in their current position, develop a personalized career plan, seek technical school or job advancement, and build their confidence to realize a healthcare career.

Module 1 & 2: Life Management Skills
  • Work with a variety of goal-setting techniques to obtain targeted work and personal results

  • Put time management techniques into action to realize more control over your work and personal life

  • Learn to identify causes of stress and explore stress management strategies

Module 3: Mastering Communication in the Workplace
  • Distinguish between verbal and nonverbal communication

  • Understand the steps in the communication process

  • Recognize and identify different communication styles

  • Exercise effective communication skills that meet patient safety and satisfaction standards

  • Realize the importance of being a team player

  • Learn about basic tools for managing conflict situations

Module 4: Principles of Patient Safety and Satisfaction
  • Recognize the importance of the HCAHPS survey

  • Recognize the importance of the HCAHPS survey

  • Cite reasons why patient satisfaction scores are important to you, and ways you can take ownership in making a positive impact

  • Define a safe healthcare environment

  • Understand the importance of “first do no harm”

  • Recognize the different influences upon patient safety and the individual and organizational level

Module 5: Grammar in the Workplace
  • Identify key parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, and verbs) and how they function in sentences

  • Use punctuation marks correctly to make sentences and paragraphs clear

  • Avoid some of the most commonly made and distracting grammar errors

  • Avoid confusion among words that look alike or are similar in spelling or sound but have different meanings

Module 6: Reading in the Workplace
  • Find main ideas and identify important supporting details

  • Define the correct meaning of a word, whether stated explicitly or implicitly in the text

  • Classify documents according to their purpose

  • Apply techniques for reading comprehension

  • Learn to summarize or draw conclusions from reading material

Module 7: Writing in the Workplace
  • Apply the four steps of the writing process to different workplace topics

  • Write paragraphs using topic sentences and supporting details

  • Implement techniques for improved writing skills including writing legibly, writing often, and applying the 3 Cs of writing: clear, concise, and concrete

  • Integrate customer-focused writing techniques into business writing

  • Apply proven note-taking techniques

  • Recognize key building blocks for developing effective resumes

Module 8 & 9: Applying Math in the Workplace
    Part I
  • Solve workplace problems that require a single type of mathematics operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) using whole numbers

  • Define: fraction, numerator, denominator, proper fraction, improper fraction, mixed number and equivalent fractions

  • Perform the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using fractions

  • Add or subtract negative numbers

  • Convert simple money and time units (e.g., hours to minutes)

  • Part II
  • Perform the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using decimals

  • Given workplace scenarios, change numbers from one form to another using whole numbers, fractions, decimals, or percentage

Module 10 & 11: Medical Terminology
    Part I
  • Define common prefixes, suffixes, and root words in medical terminology

  • Define: fraction, numerator, denominator, proper fraction, improper fraction, mixed number and equivalent fractions

  • Combine prefixes, suffixes, and root words in medical terminology to form new medical terms

  • Use medical terminology book to find the meaning of medical words

  • Translate medical terms and abbreviations

  • Part II
  • Use the medical terminology reference book to find the meaning of medical words

  • Recall the medical terms used to describe body positions

  • Use medical terminology book to find the meaning of medical words

  • Identify and recall the parts of a cell including the nucleus, cytoplasm, and chromosomes

Module 12: Planning for Your Future
  • Evaluate strategies for moving up the career ladder, including continuing education and job advancement opportunities

  • Define: fraction, numerator, denominator, proper fraction, improper fraction, mixed number and equivalent fractions

  • Describe various healthcare careers, including non-clinical careers

  • Assess your knowledge level at the end of SAW

Career & Learning Plan

A Bridge to Career and Higher Education
CLP 4-steps

The Career and Learning Plan is a requirement of completion for SAW students.
The (CLP) Center is a four step career exploration process that is rich with resources to
help your employees learn about themselves and the opportunities available within your organization.


Students explore their interests, strengths, values, and experience.


Customized Career Interest Survey


Jobs Database and Videos

Local School Search (This enables the student to identify their local options for obtaining that next diploma, certification or degree)


S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Students learn to use and will define SMART goals that will bring their career plan to fruition)

Delivery Model

Blended Learning Model Graphic

Using adult learning principles with a Blended Learning Model to overcome the unique obstacles of the student, SAW has produced completion rates considered best practice in adult-learning. Its content delivery model has a unique set of features to encourage maximum learning and time for student discussion and learning practice:

    • Combines Education & Career Planning
    • Healthcare Specific Curriculum tailored to the Entry-Level Employee
    • Cohort Learning Model
    • Blended Learning:
      • – Interactive Videos – educational topics, easily facilitated by an in-house educator
      • – Online Modules –education reinforcement, career and learning plan activities
      • – Workbooks – for classroom group and “Take It To Work” activities
      • – Informational Interviewing and Job Shadowing – for career exploration
  • Delivered in Physical or Virtual Classroom
  • Train the Trainer model facilitated by your Education and Talent Acquisition Staff