Dallas County Community College District is receiving a $12 million federal grant that will help more students by creating apprenticeship programs in the healthcare industry that will enhance the careers of students who are “earning while learning.”
DCCCD is among the first recipients nationwide of roughly $183 million in grants announced Tuesday by U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. The grants will expand apprenticeship opportunities nationwide.
“The apprenticeship model of earning while learning has worked well in many American industries, and today we open opportunities for apprenticeships to flourish in new sectors of our economy,” Acosta said in a statement. “With 7.4 million open jobs and job creators searching for skilled job seekers, apprenticeship expansion will continue to close the skills gap and strengthen the greatest workforce in the world—the American workforce.”
DCCCD Chancellor Joe May said in a release that the district will partner with the American Hospital Association, local healthcare systems, and national healthcare providers on the program, which will allow students to be paid while training. Some 7,500 apprentices will work in roughly 50 high-demand medical careers.
“As a district, DCCCD’s mission is to be an economic engine that prepares workers for long-term careers earning a living wage,” May said. “This grant is an important step toward this mission and reaching our goal to train 50,000 apprentices by 2030.”
The community college district will invest about $4 million of its own money in the program.
DCCCD said roughly 3,700 or those 7,500 apprentices will be women, more than 2,500 people of color, and more than 1,100 will be transitioning service members, military spouses, and veterans.
“Apprenticeships in healthcare are not as prevalent as in other industries, and this initiative is meant to change that,” May said in the release. “Through partnerships with local health care systems, national providers and the American Hospital Association, we are creating a strong infrastructure to serve these students and provide them with career-making and life-changing opportunities,”
DCCCD has worked closely with industry to create program for apprenticeships
The healthcare industry has not used apprenticeships as a traditional method of finding workers, but has been reliant on H1-B visas—which permit U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations—to fill employment gaps.
Mark Hays, the district’s vice chancellor of workforce and economic development, said the DCCCD worked closely with the healthcare industry to create a new base of employees, and to “upskill” people now employed in the industry.
Included among the new or expanded apprenticeships are programs for nurses, flight medics, radiology technicians, cardiovascular technicians, and behavioral health technicians, the district said.
Among the program’s industry partners are UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Health Resources, VA Health Care System, Children’s Health, Parkland Health & Hospital System, Methodist Health System, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, Capital Senior Living, Medical City Healthcare, Acadian Ambulance Services, JPS Health Network and the American Hospital Association.
Seven individually accredited colleges—Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake, and Richland—comprise the Dallas County Community College District. Some of those campuses already offer classes in healthcare-related subjects.
“By increasing the number of apprenticeships available, we can significantly grow the health care workforce and provide a proven pathway to great careers for our Dallas County citizens,” Hays said.
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