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Senators Deliver Fed Funding To Give Upstate Community College Students The Hands-On Training To Help Fill Sorely Needed Healthcare Jobs Upstate And Give  Job Seekers The Skills For Good-Paying Healthcare Careers

OCC Will Lead Coalition Of Upstate Community Colleges Including SUNY Broome, Corning, Cayuga, Genesee, Herkimer, Jamestown, Jefferson, North Country, Schenectady, & Tompkins Cortland Community College, In Addition To Workforce Development Agencies, Hospitals, Unions, To Reduce Barriers And Help Underserved Students Enter The Healthcare Field

Schumer, Gillibrand: From CNY To The North Country, Fed $$$ Will Boost Upstate Community Colleges To Fill In-Demand Healthcare Jobs Across New York State!

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program has awarded $5 million to expand healthcare education programs, close opportunity gaps, and increase access to good-paying, in-demand healthcare careers across New York State. Onondaga Community College will lead a coalition of ten Upstate community colleges, in partnership with leading workforce development agencies, healthcare industry leaders, unions, and other community partners in a bold new project called the  Community College Health CARES (Career, Acceleration, Retention + Employment Support) Consortium. The senators said that this proposal, with the support of the federal funding that they secured, will expand these critically-needed programs to strengthen the healthcare workforce in communities across Upstate New York and help underserved individuals get the skills they need to enter these good-paying careers that are in demand across New York.

“I am proud to deliver this $5 million federal investment to give Upstate community colleges, led by OCC, the shot in the arm they need to help providers fill in-demand, good-paying healthcare jobs in their communities,” said Senator Schumer. “Healthcare providers across the state are struggling to find enough workers to meet the demand for services, but this funding will help students and job seekers get the skills they need to enter better paying careers and give back to the community. This funding will go a long way to filling healthcare jobs in the areas that need them most and will strengthen Upstate New York’s medical workforce for years to come.”

“Our health care providers have been under historic levels of stress. They have worked night and day to meet rising demand and keep their fellow New Yorkers safe and healthy, and they need reinforcements,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Funding like the $5 million going to Onondaga Community College is a critical step in addressing the health care staffing shortage and recruiting, training and building the next generation of health care workers.”

Onondaga Community College President Dr. Warren Hilton said, “We are extremely grateful to Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their support of Onondaga Community College and their understanding of our mission as Central New York’s partner in education for success. In our School of Health we are creating programs which will train students for good-paying jobs in the shortest time possible. Their success in the classroom will both satisfy significant workforce needs, and give our students an entry point to a rewarding career and ultimately a better life. Moreover, the broad reach of this project will allow OCC and ten other collaborating community colleges to bring these benefits to individuals and communities across New York State.”

Specifically, this funding will allow Onondaga Community College to lead SUNY Broome, Corning, Cayuga, Genesee, Herkimer, Jamestown, Jefferson, North Country, Schenectady, and Tompkins Cortland Community Colleges to expand their healthcare training programs. This will be done in partnership with top regional healthcare employers like SUNY Upstate Medical University, United Health Services, Arnot Health, Cayuga Medical, Lourdes, Samaritan Medical Center, and many others.

The senators explained this new funding will allow partners to collaborate to enhance and accelerate career pathway programs leading to industry-recognized credentials and entry into Health Care and Social Assistance careers, including nursing, healthcare technicians, social assistance and management, and health information technology and administration. The program will also have an added focus on closing opportunity gaps for low-income individuals and underrepresented populations seeking to enter the field, increasing the diversity of New York’s healthcare workforce.

The Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program aims to help people in marginalized and underrepresented populations overcome barriers to career and technical education programs they need to connect with quality jobs. The DOL awarded $45 million in grants to 13 community colleges, including seven consortium grants and six single institution grants in 12 states, more information can be found here.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter of support on behalf of Onondaga Community College appears below:

Dear Secretary Walsh:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by Onondaga Community College (OCC) application for funding through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grant program.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a massive public health crisis and resulted in a disruption of New York State’s Health Care and Social Assistance (HCSA) industry. With funding, OCC plans to partner with other community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system in a five-part plan to strengthen career pathways in the HCSA fields. 

Partners will; Form a HCSA Community of Practice, Formalize a cross-regional employer engagement team leveraging existing strategic employer partners, Pilot and recommend for adoption of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) to accelerate HCSA pathways, Develop agreements to create stackable credentials and enhance and accelerate HCSA pathway programs, and introduce evidence-based, equity and industry informed HCSA pathway recruitment materials, resources and career selection supports with public workforce and employer partners.

I applaud Onondaga Community College for its foresight and I sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.