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RBC I On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the Colorado Community College System colleges will benefit from a $14.2 million grant to enhance their current allied health related programs with the goal of training a highly qualified healthcare workforce.
The grant has been awarded to a consortium of seven academic institutions in Colorado, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming and is a part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Initiative for which the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act included a total of $2 billion over a four-year period. Last year, Colorado’s 15 community colleges received a $17.3 million grant under the initiative to enhance their energy-related programs.
Specifically, three Colorado Community College System colleges will receive funds from the grant but others will benefit from what they develop. The grant will be administered by Pueblo Community College in collaboration with the Colorado Community College System staff. It will also benefit Otero Junior College in La Junta and Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood. The Colorado Community College System sought the grant with the aim of benefiting much of the Rocky Mountain region and Alaska. The grant will facilitate partnerships between allied-health providers, community colleges and local workforce centers to train returning Veterans, unemployed and under-employed workers with the skills they need for placement in some of Colorado’s highest demand jobs.
Specifically the grant will fund the creation of the Consortium for Healthcare Education Online. The partnering institutions will develop or transition allied healthcare courses and programs into online or part-classroom/part-online formats. Some of the programs will be new and others are currently only offered in face-to-face format. The courses will offer students the opportunity to acquire “stackable” certificates which allow them to make progress in their profession while pursuing successive certificates and degrees. Additionally, many of the courses in these programs will be fundamental to a variety of different allied health programs so students can easily change their area of focus or apply prior learning.
Through the North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO), the colleges will collaborate in the develop of lab exercises using shared remote web-based science labs. The consortium members hope to share and make better use of limited resources, serving as a model for a new era in higher education – one moving institutions toward the effective use of technology and partnerships with other institutions for better preparation of the region’s workforce.
Certificates and degrees that will be developed and awarded by the consortium include: polysomnography; emergency medical services (EMT-basic, intermediate and advanced); health information technology; occupation endorsement certificate; medical office support; medical lab technology; nurse aide; home health care; hospice care; medication aide; health care core; pre-nursing; paramedicine; radiation technology; medical lab technician; practical nursing, nurse aide certificate cardiopulmonary resuscitation and associate of applied science degrees.
“As with the last grant we received under this initiative, these funds will allow us to invest in curricular redesign and the technology needed to bridge the gap between existing workforce skills and emerging industry needs. We have consulted carefully with healthcare providers to ensure our students will be successful upon employment or advancement in their organizations. We are very grateful for this continued federal support,” said Dr. Nancy McCallin, President of the Colorado Community College System in announcing the grant award.
The Colorado Community College System comprises the state’s largest system of higher education serving over 162,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in over 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.