Leading a consortium of 12 two-year colleges, more than 20 employers and 10 workforce investment boards, Bergen Community College has received a $15 million job-training grant from the federal government to fund a regional healthcare career pathways system.
The White House, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 71 grantees selected for $450 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants Sept. 29. The grantees, including Bergen, will lead job-training initiatives at 270 U.S. community colleges. The Bergen-led group received the fourth-highest award ($15 million) among the 71 grantees.
“Workforce development remains a critical responsibility of our nation’s community colleges – including Bergen,” college President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D. said. “The TAACCCT grant will continue the College’s work in training the next generation of healthcare professionals to enter high-skill, high-wage pathways in this growing employment sector.”
Bergen County’s federal representatives applauded the College’s commitment to workforce development and creating education opportunities for local residents.
“As our nation’s economy continues to rebound, it’s impetrative we train our workforce to keep up with the demands of an increasingly global economy,” U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) said. “This federal grant will help strengthen our healthcare workforce by providing workers the specialized training they need and connecting them with employers and public workforce systems. I couldn’t be more proud to have Bergen Community College serve as the leader in training a highly skilled, educated and competitive workforce.”
“Job training programs like those provided at Bergen Community College are the building blocks of our workforce,” U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-08) said. “Continued investments in such education provide workers with the necessary skills to thrive in today’s economy. As one of 270 community colleges nationwide to receive the grant, the $15 million provided to Bergen Community College will empower New Jersey’s next generation of skilled workers in healthcare through improved partnerships with local employers.”
The New Jersey Health Professions Pathways to Regional Excellence Project (NJ-PREP) consortium expects to serve more than 2,000 participants, including veterans and the unemployed, by providing training for healthcare jobs such as home health aides, pharmacy technicians and billing and coding specialists.
NJ-PREP builds on previous Bergen-led projects related to healthcare job-training such as a regional consortium, the Health Professions Opportunity Grant, formed in 2010 – funded by a $24 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant – that resulted in 1,100 individuals securing first-time employment in the industry.
Bergen will lead New Jersey two-year colleges Brookdale Community College, County College of Morris, Essex County College, Hudson County Community College, Mercer Community College, Middlesex County College, Ocean County College, Passaic County Community College, Raritan Valley Community College, Sussex County Community College and Union County College local workforce investment boards, hospitals and commercial employers as part of the NJ-PREP consortium.
Health professions programs remain a priority for Bergen. Currently under construction at the College’s main campus, the region’s only health professions integrated teaching center will open in 2016. The $26 million facility, financed in large part by the 2012 New Jersey voter-supported Building our Future Bond Act, will house the College’s comprehensive health professions programs.Related Articles: