Wisconsin’s health care employers and workers will benefit from a $20 million investment by the U.S. Department of Labor, which announced a grant to Wisconsin’s technical colleges to address emerging needs in the health care sector.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College will receive $948,188 to expand and modify the Medical Assistant (MA) and MA-to-Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Bridge programs over three years. The grant will benefit 268 students. NWTC’s award is the fourth largest among the 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
At NWTC, funds will be used to develop and enhance curriculum for the MA and nursing Bridge programs, renovate and reconfigure existing simulation space, and to hire additional academic coaching and support staff.
The successful grant application comes under the fourth installment of a multi-year, nearly $2.0 billion federal community college initiative designed to increase credential attainment in high-priority economic sectors. In previous rounds, Wisconsin’s technical colleges won grants to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in information technology ($23.1 million in 2013) and manufacturing ($18.3 million in 2012).
The most recent three-year grant, dubbed "ACT for Health Care" (Advancing Careers and Training for Healthcare), provides $15 million to a consortium of the state’s technical colleges to deliver training and support services for eligible workers, veterans, and other adults, preparing them for high-growth careers in the health care sector.
This round also includes a $5 million, three-year grant to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to oversee technical assistance, professional development, and shared learning that advances career pathways across sectors and regions in Wisconsin.
Career pathways organize curriculum and services around flexible, "stackable" modules that progressively build over the course of a career.
"These one-time federal funds allow us to advance a more robust initiative in support of our health care sector than would be possible otherwise," said WTCS President Morna Foy. "In the past three years, the Department of Labor has provided a strong complement to our core state and local funding."
Wisconsin’s technical colleges received the largest single award and the collaborative is one of the few applicants to successfully receive grants in each of the past three years. Work under the latest grant officially began October 1.