Central Arizona College receives nearly $2 million healthcare training grant

January 28, 2009
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Central Arizona College a $1,992,763 three-year grant to help train healthcare workers in Pinal County and the metropolitan areas of Tucson and Phoenix.

CAC was one of 68 organizations receiving a total of $123 million in grants as part of the President's Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative. Recipients were chosen from among 274 applications received in response to a competition announced Oct. 10, 2008.

"This grant allows Central Arizona College to increase accessibility to healthcare education and job training in Pinal County,” Dennis Jenkins, president/CEO of the institution, stated. “Offering accessible higher education and job training are two of our core mandates and this grant greatly expands that opportunity.”

The current grant begins Feb. 15 and marks the second CBJT award received by Central Arizona College. The institution received a $1,985,204 three-year grant to enhance its nursing program and begin its radiology technology curriculum in 2006.

The project will serve the region’s rapidly growing healthcare industry by training health information management (HIM) workers, as well as medical coders and billers. It also will launch both an associate degree program for diagnostic medical sonographers and expand the certificate program for medical assistants.

“This project will strengthen the capacity of the healthcare career ladder that CAC offers, resulting in significantly more student participation in our healthcare education programs,” John Irvine, vice president of academic programs and services/chief academic officer, explained. “With support from our first CBJT grant, we established a healthcare core curriculum program and a soft skills training program that is tied to a workplace skills certificate.”

By completing these two entry-level programs, students become acquainted with both the soft skills that employers seek and the prerequisite skills and knowledge required for more advanced healthcare education.

The CBJT project is the result of careful labor market research and extensive discussions with regional healthcare employers and workforce development personnel.

To alleviate the shortage of skilled healthcare personnel, the project will tap into under-utilized pools of labor, retrain adult workers and veterans, train semi-skilled healthcare workers, and encourage high school students to enter healthcare professions.

It is expected that the capacity of these programs will double during the grant period, with more than 250 students having the opportunity to earn degrees, certificates or receive job training.

Letters of support for the grant were written by the following organizations:

  • Arizona Regional Medical Center (Mesa, AZ)
  • Banner Gateway Medical Center (Gilbert, AZ)
  • Casa Grande Regional Medical Center (Casa Grande, AZ)
  • Chandler Regional Hospital (Chandler, AZ)
  • Central Arizona Association of Governments (Globe, AZ)
  • Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation (Casa Grande, AZ)
  • Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (Coolidge, AZ)
  • Cobre Valley Community Hospital (Globe, AZ)
  • Desert Reflections Imaging Center (Casa Grande, AZ)
  • Maricopa Integrated Health System (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Mountain Vista Medical Center (Mesa, AZ)
  • Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (Safford, AZ)
  • Seeds of Hope, Inc. (Casa Grande, AZ)
  • Southwest Information Management Services, Inc. (Tempe, AZ)

Introduced by former President George Bush in his 2004 State of the Union address, Community-Based Job Training Grants improve the ability of community colleges to provide their regions' workers with the skills needed to enter growing industries.

In slightly more than three years, approximately $497 million now has been awarded to 279 community colleges and community-based institutions in 49 states to promote the U.S. workforce's full potential. Through the first three rounds of these grants, more than 34,000 individuals have completed their education and training, and nearly 85,000 people have participated.


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