CT Community Colleges Receive U.S. Department of Labor Grant

Connecticut Community Colleges Receive U.S. Department of Labor Grant For Bridges to Health Careers Initiative

Meeting the needs of Connecticut’s businesses and industries for a well educated, highly skilled workforce is an essential component of the mission of Connecticut’s twelve Community Colleges. Preparing and placing skilled and credentialed workers in critical workforce shortage areas, such as nursing and allied health, has established Connecticut’s system of Community Colleges as primary providers of demand-driven workforce training and education. In response to the college’s collaborative efforts and significant achievements in workforce development, the twelve Community Colleges have received a second $2+ million dollar Community-Based Job Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for a proposed initiative called Bridges to Health Careers.

The three year initiative will impact an estimated 2,752 students participating in allied health continuing education certificates over the course of the grant. Programs include: Certified Nurse Aid, Emergency Medical Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Coding & Billing Specialist, Patient Care Technician, and Dental Assistant. This proposal builds on the previous DOL-funded college initiative, Career Pathways in Nursing and Allied Health, by including capacity-building efforts within the Connecticut Community College System’s certificate programs. The initiative targets educationally underserved “non-traditional” students and will increase completion rates in allied health certificate programs and open pathways to degrees and higher wage jobs. The grant will establish a virtual Health Care Career Academy as a replicable model to build institutional capacity, support the academic achievement of non-traditional students and bridge gaps between short-term certificate and longer-term degree programs. Grant funds will provide tuition assistance, academic and social/emotional support to non-traditional students entering allied health certificate programs, and support innovative and proven best practices that promote success in educational and workforce settings.

The goals of the grant will be supplemented by significant commitments from the Community Colleges’ health care industry partnerships who are providing clinical sites, technology, clinical simulations, internships, faculty, expert guidance and expertise. The leveraged value of hospital, health care, and other partner contributions to support the Bridges to Health Careers is in excess of $6 million. Additional key partnerships include the Office for Workforce Competitiveness, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Connecticut Workforce Development Council, the Connecticut Department of Labor, 1199 Training Fund, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Connecticut League for Nursing, and Connecticut Office of Rural Health Programs.

Marc S. Herzog, Chancellor of the Connecticut Community Colleges, expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Department of Labor and grant partners, and offered congratulations to the college participants for their collaborative efforts in developing a successful proposal which won the approval of the USDOL for this second Community-Based Job Training Grant. “The Board of Trustees for the Community College System and our system colleges are eager to expand our collaborative efforts through this new grant with allied health providers and policy makers. This project responds to the skills gaps and shortages outlined in regional economic development and workforce investment plans, and advances other policy-related efforts initiated by the Governor to address Connecticut’s Health Care workforce crisis,” according to Herzog.

“Governor Rell and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation lent valuable support to our proposal and this impressive collaborative effort that will expand educational opportunities, ensure a well prepared health care workforce, and address the health care needs of Connecticut citizens. We are most grateful for their endorsement and encouragement.”

Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield said “this partnership allows us to share our skills in order to ensure a strong and vibrant workforce in Connecticut. I welcome this opportunity to support the efforts of Governor Rell and the Connecticut Community College System as we work to strengthen and expand career pathways in the field of healthcare for our state.”

Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.