Health-care pipeline opens to N. Aurora residents

Community College of Aurora on Dec. 19 received a $106,000 grant over three years from the Colorado Department of Education that will pay to train North Aurora residents for job opportunities on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

CCA is developing the Adult Learning Healthcare Bridge Project, a 10-week integrated basic education and healthcare skills training program, which begins in April. The grant runs  through June 2017.

Funding for the grant emanated from Adult Basic Education legislation under House Bill 1085, which was sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora). Grantees must provide demonstrable results in order to keep receiving allocations.

The project will be run in conjunction with numerous local partners, including Community-Campus Partnership, Children’s Hospital Colorado, The Learning Source, Arapahoe/Douglas Works!, and the Adams County Workforce and Business Center in order to leverage funds to pay for training and expertise, community outreach and job placement

The grant represents the first concrete funding earmarked towards an initiative whose primary component is developing the workforce pipeline that is a primary component of the Community-Campus Partnership’s mission.

CCA will create the bridge training program curriculum and run its classes, with components that include basic reading, writing and math skills; medical terminology; customer service in healthcare; and healthcare careers/employer expectations.

Community-Campus Partnership, a collaborative by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, will provide a job navigator who is charged with resident recruiting, providing support services, and focusing on job placement.

“The intent is that these funds will be used to support students in their acquisition of skills that enable more low-income, low-literacy adults to ultimately achieve economic self-sufficiency,” said Joyce Benson-Fox, director of CCA’s Center for Workforce Development

“In order to meet college-level course requirements and employer hiring specifications, high school completers who need to increase their mastery of basic literacy and numeracy and individuals lacking a GED but getting a requisite basic-education test score will be targeted for enrollment,” she added.

The Adult Learning Healthcare Bridge Project takes individuals needing foundational educational skills and feeds them into one of two career path options – sterile processing and patient navigation – that will lead to jobs in the near term. It will also place them on a pathway to more advanced training and higher paying job opportunities, such as positions as a surgical technician on the sterile processing side, and as a pharmacy technician, medical assistant or patient care technician through the patient navigation route.

According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Council, the healthcare and wellness industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Metro Denver area, expanding by 20.2 percent from 2008-13, and there are 182,320 jobs and 18,450 companies across the region. Anschutz Medical Campus in North Aurora is at the center of this rapid growth.

“The funds from this grant will be used to help fund pilot programs dedicated to providing the tools for local Aurora residents to be prepared for entry-level jobs on campus and enhancing career pathways on the Anschutz Medical Campus,” stated Robert J. McGranaghan, MPH, director of the Community-Campus Partnership and professor at  Colorado School of Public Health.

“We believe that the key to community health is through community wealth, and one way to achieve that goal is to help people gain access to good jobs that exist on the Campus.”

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