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Career Pathway Program Aims to Launch More Than 550 Students in Health Care and Social Services Fields
Annual shortages of about 200 certified nurse assistants and 45 licensed practical nurses projected for the Finger Lakes region—a staffing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic—underscore the critical need for a robust talent pipeline to meet employers’ health care workforce demands.
Through its System Transformation and Community Investment Program, Finger Lakes Performing Provider System (FLPPS) is partnering with Monroe Community College (MCC), Cayuga Community College and other community colleges and partners in the region in establishing a sustainable model for long-term career pathways that expand the health care workforce pool and provide opportunities for more diverse individuals to achieve economic mobility. FLPPS is providing $4 million in funding for the project, with MCC as the lead community college in the initiative.
Through the two-year program ending in 2023, project partners will offer educational and training opportunities, along with holistic supports to ensure students stay on track with their academic goals. Students will also receive job-placement assistance to begin their health care careers.
Starting in spring 2022, the program will take place at five SUNY community colleges: Cayuga, Corning, Finger Lakes, Genesee, and Monroe. Students will receive mentoring and case management services at each college in collaboration with Action for a Better Community to increase success and completion rates. Students will also be connected to community resources — including services for housing, transportation, and child care — to support their basic needs so that they can focus on their academic and career goals. The colleges will work with BOCES, Hillside, Catholic Family Center, PathStone, area school districts, and other workforce programs to build a recruitment pathway for students from underserved areas.
“I am excited FLPPS is partnering with MCC and our other regional community colleges and workforce experts in providing educational career pathways. This pioneering program will provide vital educational and training opportunities that are desperately needed in the Finger Lakes region,” said Carol Tegas, executive director of FLPPS.
Educational and training opportunities will focus on certified nurse assistants becoming licensed practical nurses (LPN) and LPNs becoming registered nurses, medical assistants and community and social services professionals.
“We are grateful to the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System for its support of our students and their futures, creating life-changing opportunities that will empower them to fulfill their potential and make a difference in the lives of residents and families throughout the Finger Lakes region,” said MCC President Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna. “Through strategic collaboration with our partners in education and industry, MCC builds on increasing access to quality education and training that lead to family-sustaining careers and social mobility. We are committed to closing economic and equity gaps and improving quality of life in our communities and across the region.”
“Career pathways are transformative avenues allowing students to transition from their academic journey to fulfilling their potential as professionals. Like our institutions of higher education, these pathways reinforce opportunities for economic and social mobility for diverse individuals throughout our communities,” said Cayuga President Dr. Brian Durant. “We appreciate Finger Lakes Performing Provider System’s support for our students, and for creating an opportunity for students to realize their goals of making a difference in our communities.”
“SUNY Corning Community College is proud to join with our sister colleges in the region in partnering with the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System on this innovative initiative to expand healthcare educational opportunities in the Southern Tier. Capitalizing on the recent curriculum changes to the college’s Nursing program, the grant will create seamless pathways for students from Certified Nurse Aide through Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse,” said Dr. William P. Mullaney, president of SUNY Corning Community College. “Additionally, this grant will support the development of a Behavioral Health Technician program to improve mental health services in the region, another area that was hard hit as a consequence of the pandemic. The focus on wrap-around services, such as child care, housing and transportation, in the grant bodes well for its success because it addresses the complex lives of our students and the challenges they face in pursuing their education.”
“We know that students’ struggles to meet basic needs can be a barrier to education. With the shortage of health care workers amid a pandemic, everyone has an interest in helping these students complete their education and training,” said Robert K. Nye, president of Finger Lakes Community College. “FLCC is very proud to be a partner with FLPPS and our fellow community colleges to support this important endeavor to make a difference in all of our communities.”
“Short-term, easily accessible training models are successful ways to move underrepresented populations into careers that are in-demand, and provide individuals opportunities for career growth and advancement.” said Kristin Sine-Kinz, acting vice president of economic and workforce development and career technical education at MCC. “Through the financial investment from FLPPS, MCC is able to provide the necessary pathways for students to gain the essential skills needed to perform these vital health care jobs within our community.”